Charles Blagden

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Charles Brian Blagden
Blagden Charles.jpg
Blagden Charles (late 18th/early 19th century) by Mary Dawson Turner from a sketch by Thomas Phillips.
Born 17 April 1748
Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire
Died 26 March 1820
Arcueil, France
Nationality United Kingdom
Known for Studies of perspiration and the freezing point of solutions
Notable awards Copley Medal (1788)

Sir Charles Brian Blagden FRS (17 April 1748 – 26 March 1820)[1] was a British physician and scientist.[2] He served as a medical officer in the Army (1776–1780) and later held the position of Secretary of the Royal Society (1784–1797). Blagden won the Copley Medal in 1788 and was knighted in 1792.

He died in Arcueil, France in 1820, and was buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.[1]


In June 1783, Blagden, then assistant to Henry Cavendish, visited Antoine Lavoisier in Paris and described how Cavendish had created water by burning "inflammable air".[3] Lavoisier's dissatisfaction with the Cavendish's "dephlogistinization" theory led him to the concept of a chemical reaction, which he reported to the Royal Academy of Sciences on 24 June 1783, effectively founding modern chemistry. He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1789.[4]

Blagden experimented on human ability to withstand high temperatures. In his report to the Royal Society in 1775, he was first to recognise the role of perspiration in thermoregulation.[5][6]

Blagden's experiments on how dissolved substances like salt affected the freezing point of water led to the discovery that the freezing point of a solution decreases in direct proportion to the concentration of the solution, now called Blagden's Law.[7] (See: Freezing-point depression)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wilson, George (1851). The Life of the Hon. Henry Cavendish. London: Harrison and Son. p. 131.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. For a summary of Blagden's life and work, see Jungnickel, Christa; McCormmach, Russell (1996). Cavendish. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. pp. 212–216. ISBN 0-87169-220-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Brougham, Henry Lord (1839). "Historical Account of the Discovery of the Composition of Water". The Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal. 27 (54): 316–324.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 28 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Blagden, Charles (1775). "Experiments and Observations in an Heated Room". Philosophical Transactions (1683–1775). 65: 111–123. doi:10.1098/rstl.1775.0013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Blagden, Charles (1775). "Further Experiments and Observations in an Heated Room". Philosophical Transactions (1683–1775). 65: 484–494. doi:10.1098/rstl.1775.0048.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Mellor, Joseph William (1912). Modern Inorganic Chemistry. New York: Longmans, Green, and Company. p. 161.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

External links