- William de Wiveleslie Abney
name = William de Wiveleslie Abney
caption = William de Wiveleslie Abney
July 24, 1843
December 3, 1920
nationality = English
astronomy chemistry photography
Abney was born in
Derby, England, to a clergyman father. He attended Rossall School, the Royal Military Academy, Woolwichand joined the Royal Engineersin 1861, with whom he served in Indiafor several years. Thereafter, and to further his knowledge in photography, he became a chemical assistant at the Chatham School of Military Engineering.
Abney was a pioneer of several technical aspects of
photography. His endeavors in the chemistryof photography produced useful photographic products and also developments in astronomy. He wrote many books on photography that were considered standard texts at the time, although he was doubtful that his improvements would have a great impact on the subject.
Abney investigated the blackening of a negative to incidental light. In 1874, Abney developed a dry photographic
emulsion, which replaced "wet" emulsions. He used this emulsion in an Egyptian expedition to photograph the transit of Venusacross the sun. In 1880, he introduced hydroquinone. Abney also introduced new and useful types of photographic paper, including in 1882 a formula for gelatin silver chloridepaper.
Abney conducted early research into the field of
spectroscopy, developing a red-sensitive emulsion which was used for the infrared spectraof organic molecules. He was also a pioneer in photographing the infraredsolar spectrum (1887), as well as researching sunlightin the medium of the atmosphere.
Abney invented the "
Abney Level", a combined clinometerand spirit level, used by surveyors to measure slopes and angles.
He died in
* Chemistry for Engineers (1870)
* Instruction in Photography (1871)
Organizations and honors
Royal Photographic Society(president)
** 1892 to 1894
** 1903 to 1905
Royal Astronomical Society(president)
** 1893 to 1895.
Physical Society of London(president)
** 1895 to 1897
* Girls' Public Day School Trust (vice-President)
** 1909 to 1920
** 1876 and
* " [...] whatever little notions of art a person might have in his head would certainly be driven out of it, for the knowledge that he could take an almost unlimited number of pictures would lead him to expose a sheet on every possible occasion, and probably 99 percent of what he obtained would be thoroughly inartistic productions".
* "Abney, William de Wiveleslie." Britannica Student Encyclopedia. 2004. Encyclopædia Britannica.
* cite encyclopedia
last = Dieke
first = Sally
title = Abney, William de Wiveleslie
Dictionary of Scientific Biography
volume = 1
pages = 21-22
publisher = Charles Scribner's Sons
location = New York
date = 1970
isbn = 0684101149
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.