William Hyde Wollaston, English scientist, 1824.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by William Ward after a painting by John Jackson. William Hyde Wollaston FRS (1766-1828) attended Cambridge University and trained as a doctor, before becoming interested in chemistry and metallurgy. He was the first to produce ductile and malleable platinum on a commercial scale and, while developing a method for procesing platinum, discovered palladium (1803) and rhodium (1804). He also invented several optical instruments, including the camera lucida, and made improvements to scientific apparatus, including the microscope and sextant. The volume and variety of his research made Wollaston one of the leading scientists of his day. The mineral Wollastonite is named after him.