Prout , William
(1785–1850) British chemist and physiologist
Prout was born at Horton in England and studied medicine at Edinburgh, graduating in 1811. He established himself as a physician in London and became a pioneer of physiological chemistry, in which he lectured. He wrote on the stomach and urinary diseases and on the chemistry of the blood, urine, and kidney stones. In 1818 he prepared urea for the first time and in 1824 he identified hydrochloric acid in stomach secretions. He was also one of the first to divide food components into the groups of fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
Prout's fame also rests on a paper he published anonymously in 1815, On the Relation between the Specific Gravities of Bodies in Their Gaseous State and the Weight of Their Atoms. In this he formulated what has since been called Prout's hypothesis: the atomic weight of all atoms is an exact multiple of the atomic weight of hydrogen. Determination of atomic weights had made this view plausible. At the time there was considerable interest in the hypothesis as it implied that elements were themselves ‘compounds’ of hydrogen, and Prout suggested that hydrogen was the prima materia (basic substance) of the ancients. However, more accurate determinations of atomic weight, particularly by Jean Stas, showed that many were not whole numbers. Stas described the hypothesis as “only an illusion” although he also remarked that there was “something at the bottom of it.” Interest was revived with the publication of Dmitri Mendeleev's periodic table, although Mendeleev described the idea of a prima materiaas “a torment of classical thought.” The discovery of isotopes in the 20th century resolved the position.

Scientists. . 2011.

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  • Prout, William — ▪ British chemist born Jan. 15, 1785, Horton, Gloucestershire, Eng. died April 9, 1850, London       English chemist and biochemist noted for his discoveries concerning digestion, metabolic chemistry, and atomic weights.       The son of a tenant …   Universalium

  • Prout, William — ► (1785 1850) Químico y médico británico. Determinó la presencia de ácido clorhídrico en el estómago …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • William Prout — por Henry Wyndham Phillips[1] William Prout (Horton, Gloucestershire, 15 de enero de 1785 – Londres, 9 de abril de 1850) fue un químico …   Wikipedia Español

  • Prout — may refer to: * PROUT, Progressive utilization theory * Prout CollegePeople with the surname Prout: * Richard Prout * William Prout (1785 ndash;1850), chemist * Samuel Prout * George Prout * John Skinner Prout * Gavin Prout * Kirsten Prout *… …   Wikipedia

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  • William C. Prout — William Christopher Prout (born December 24, 1886, date of death unknown) was an American athlete. He competed at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.Prout won his preliminary heat of the 400 metres with a time of 50.4 seconds. He advanced to the… …   Wikipedia

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  • William Prout — FRS (January 15, 1785 ndash; April 9, 1850) was an English chemist, physician, and natural theologian. He is remembered today mainly for what is called Prout s hypothesis. Life and work Prout was born in Horton, Gloucestershire in 1785. His… …   Wikipedia

  • Prout's hypothesis — was an early 19th century attempt to explain the existence of the various chemical elements through a hypothesis regarding the internal structure of the atom. In 1815 [William Prout (1815). On the relation between the specific gravities of bodies …   Wikipedia

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