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Distributed for UCL Press

Alexander Williamson

A Victorian Chemist and the Making of Modern Japan

Distributed for UCL Press

Alexander Williamson

A Victorian Chemist and the Making of Modern Japan

A short, accessible biography exploring Alexander Williamson’s contribution to nineteenth-century science and Japanese society.

Alexander Williamson was a leading scientist and professor of chemistry at University College London in the late nineteenth century. He taught and cared for visiting Japanese students, assisting them with their goal of modernizing Japan. This short, accessible biography explores his contribution to nineteenth-century science, as well as his lasting impact on Japanese society. In 1863 five students from the Chōshū clan, with a desperate desire to learn from the West, made their way to England. They were put in the care of Williamson and his wife. Their mission was to learn about cutting-edge Western technology, science, economics, and politics. When they returned home, they rapidly became leading figures in Japanese life. The remarkable story of the part Williamson and University College London played in the modernization of Japan is little known today. This biography will promote a deeper understanding of Williamson’s scientific innovations and his legacy for Anglo-Japanese relations.
 

146 pages | 36 color plates | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4

Education: Higher Education

History:


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Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Foreword John White
Preface 1. A traveller of intelligence 2. Birkbeck Laboratory at UCL 3. The Choshu Five 4. The Satsuma Nineteen 5. The fate of the early students 6. Bridge to Japan’s modernisation 7. Towards ‘unity out of difference’
Appendix: The names of the Choshu Five and Satsuma Nineteen
Afterword: Serendipity: The ever-widening circle John White
Further reading Notes Index

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