Daniel Rutherford, Scottish chemist and botanist, early 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Detail of engraving by William Holl, 1804, after a painting by Sir Henry Raeburn. Daniel Rutherford (1749-1819) studied medicine at Edinburgh University in Scotland. As a student, he discovered the distinction between 'noxious air' (nitrogen) and carbon dioxide, the details of which he published in 1772. He later became Profesor of Botany and keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden at Edinburgh, positions which he held from 1786 until his death in 1819. He was also uncle to the poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832).