The Science of James Smithson

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James Smithson is best known as the founder of the Smithsonian Institution, but few people know his full and fascinating story. The Science of James Smithson: Discoveries from the Smithsonian Founder is a comprehensive tribute to Smithson's contributions to chemistry, mineralogy, and more. This detailed narrative illuminates Smithson and his quest for knowledge at a time when chemists still debated things as basic as the nature of fire, and struggled to maintain their networks amid the ever-changing conditions of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. By providing scientific and intellectual context to his work, The Science of James Smithson is a comprehensive tribute to Smithson's contributions to his fields.

Museum Story

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History is the world's preeminent museum and research complex dedicated to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning about the natural world through its unparalleled research, collections, exhibitions and educational outreach programs.


  • 304 pages, 20 black and white images
  • Hardcover
  • 9" x 6"
  • Written by Steven Turner