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Born Nov. 3, 1749. in Edinburgh; died there Nov. 15, 1819. Scottish chemist, botanist, and physician. Professor at the University of Edinburgh from 1786.
In 1772, Rutherford discovered a gas that did not sustain respiration or combustion and, unlike carbon dioxide, was not absorbed by alkaline solutions. He erroneously identified the gas as air saturated with phlogiston. However, A. Lavoisier proved that the gas was nitrogen, a constituent of air.