Mar 082016

13 Sylvan Place, Edinburgh EH9 1LH

Joseph Black's house

Up an alleyway here you will find the house where the great chemist Joseph Black lived in around 1740. To get to the university from here Black only had to walk across the Meadows, where he often took a stroll with his friends the economist and political philosopher Adam Smith and the geologist James Hutton. Among his important contributions to chemistry were the discovery of carbon dioxide and latent heat. He discovered the latter principle when he observed that applying heat to boiling water produces more steam, but does not raise its temperature above its boiling point.

No public access.


Portrait of Joseph Black (1728–99).

Commemorative plaque on Joseph Black’s house.









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  2 Responses to “Joseph Black’s house”

  1. It is more likely that Black lived in Sylvan House for the last 10 years of his life – so from around 1789. There are letters to suggest that he found ‘a little house in the country’ to improve his health at this point.

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