Lawes , Sir John Bennet
(1814–1900) British agricultural chemist
Lawes was the only son of the lord of the manor of Harpenden in Hertfordshire and inherited his father's estates in 1822. He was educated at Eton and Oxford University, but he left without taking a degree. He developed an interest in science, particularly chemistry, and at the age of 20 he constructed a laboratory for himself at his home.
He turned his attention to the problems of agricultural chemistry when a neighbor pointed out to him that on some local farms bone meal increased turnip production, while on others it seemed to have no effect. This started him on his life's work, the chemistry of fertilizers.
After experimentation, Lawes showed that it was necessary to make the phosphate in the bones more readily soluble in the soil for absorption by plants. This he achieved by adding sulfuric acid to the crushed bones. Lawes took out a patent on these ‘superphosphates’ in 1842, opening his first factory for their production in 1843. By the 1870s he was producing 40,000 tons of superphosphates a year using phosphate rock rather than bones.
Also in 1843, Lawes was joined by Henry Gilbert, beginning a lifelong collaboration, and he started the Rothamsted Experimental Station, the first agricultural research station in the world. Experiments were conducted on different fertilizers; crops which were normally grown in rotation were grown here year after year on the same plot using a variety of manures and fertilizers. Animal feed was also examined and varied to find the most economical and efficient. Well over 100 papers were produced by Lawes and Gilbert on their Rothamsted work.
Lawes established the Lawes Agricultural Trust in 1889 to safeguard the continuation of research following his death. He was created a baronet in 1882.

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lawes, Sir John Bennet, 1st Baronet — ▪ English agronomist born Dec. 28, 1814, Rothamsted, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, Eng. died Aug. 31, 1900, Rothamsted       English agronomist who founded the artificial fertilizer industry and Rothamsted Experimental Station, the oldest… …   Universalium

  • John Bennet Lawes — Sir John Bennet Lawes (* 28. Dezember 1814 in Rothamsted, Hertfordshire; † 31. August 1900 ebenda) war ein britischer Agrikulturchemiker. Er war Besitzer eines Gutsbetriebes in Rothamsted, auf dem er 1843 ein agrikulturchemisches Laboratorium… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Bennet Lawes — Sir John Lawes redirects here. Distinguish from Sir John Lawes (School). Sir John Bennet Lawes, 1st Baronet FRS (December 28, 1814 ndash;August 31, 1900) was an English entrepreneur and agricultural scientist. He founded an experimental farm at… …   Wikipedia

  • Lawes — (spr. laos), Sir John Bennet, Landwirt, geb. 28. Dez. 1814 zu Rothamsted in Hartfordshire, gest. 31. Ang. 1900, studierte in Eton und Oxford, übernahm schon mit 20 Jahren die Leitung des väterlichen Gutes zu Rothamsted und beschäftigte sich… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Lawes Baronets — The Lawes Baronetcy, of Rothamsted in the County of Hertford, is a title in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 19 May 1882 for the entrepreneur and agricultural scientist John Bennet Lawes.Lawes Baronets, of Rothamsted… …   Wikipedia

  • Lawes — * William Lawes, an English composer and musician. * Henry Lawes, an English musician and composer. * John Bennet Lawes, an English entrepreneur and agricultural scientist. * Lewis Lawes, a prison warden and an outspoken proponent of prison… …   Wikipedia

  • Gilbert, Sir Henry — ▪ British chemist born Aug. 1, 1817, Hull, Yorkshire, Eng. died Dec. 23, 1901, Harpenden, Hertfordshire       English chemist whose most important contribution was his study of nitrogen fertilizers and their effects on crops.       In 1843… …   Universalium

  • Charles Bennett Lawes — Sir Charles Bennett Lawes Wittewronge, 2nd Baronet (3 October 1843 – 6 October 1911) was an English rower, athlete and sculptor. He exhibited twelve works at the Royal Academy. As depicted by VER (François Verheyden) in Vanity Fair, 12… …   Wikipedia

  • Liebig, Justus, Freiherr von — ▪ German chemist Introduction born May 12, 1803, Darmstadt, Hesse Darmstadt [Germany] died April 18, 1873, Munich, Bavaria  German chemist who made significant contributions to the analysis of organic compounds, the organization of laboratory… …   Universalium

  • Harpenden — infobox UK place country = England latitude = 51.8175 longitude = 0.3524 official name = Harpenden population = 30,000 shire district= St Albans shire county = Hertfordshire region = East of England constituency westminster= Hitchin and Harpenden …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”