April 9, 1850 – Death of William Prout, physicist and chemist whose discovery was one of the reasons Ernest Rutherford named the proton

His professional life was devoted to physics in London, but he personally focused on chemical research.

In 1823 he discovered that gastric juices contain hydrochloric acid and that these can be separated by distillation and, in 1827, he proposed the classification of food substances into carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

However, Prout is best remembered for his research in physical chemistry. In 1815, taking as a reference the tables of atomic weights of his time, he postulated the hypothesis: "The atomic weight of every element is an integer multiple of the weight of hydrogen, so the hydrogen atom is the only truly fundamental particle and that the atoms of other chemical elements are made of groups of several hydrogen atoms.

It was not subsequently corroborated, although it was a sufficiently fundamental approximation to the structure of the atom so that the prestigious Ernest Rutherford, in 1920, chose the name of the recently discovered "proton" to, among other reasons, recognize the merit of Prout.

If you want to know more about this scientist, click on the following link: William Prout

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