Josiah Parsons Cooke

Cooke Josiah Parsons.jpg

Josiah Parsons Cooke (October 12, 1827September 3, 1894) was an American scientist who worked at Harvard University and was instrumental in the measurement of atomic weights, inspiring America's first Nobel laureate in chemistry, Theodore Richards, to pursue similar research. Cooke's 1854 paper on atomic weights has been said to foreshadow the periodic law developed later by Mendeleev and others.


  • One of the most striking characteristics of this new modification of oxygen is its peculiar odor, and hence Schönbein calls it ozone, from a Greek verb signifying to smell. It frequently happens that a great discovery supplies the wanting links between a number of obscure facts, and thus adds quite as much to our knowledge by its indirect bearings as by the positive additions it makes to the general stock. So it has been with the discovery of ozone. Every one who has used an electrical machine must have noticed the peculiar smell which follows the electrical discharge. This was formerly supposed to be the odor of the electrical fluid itself; but as soon as ozone was discovered, the odor was recognized at once as belonging to this new agent, and it was soon ascertained that electricity is one of the most efficient means of modifying the oxygen of the air.
    • Cooke, J. P. (1880). Religion and Chemistry. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. p. 116. 

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Last modified on 2 December 2012, at 14:42