William Prout


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Prout, William,

1785–1850, English chemist and physician. Prout's hypothesis, advanced in 1815–16, suggested that atomic weights of elements are multiples of that of hydrogen and that elements are formed by a condensation or grouping of hydrogen atoms. Later work on the determination of atomic weights showed that part of the hypothesis does, in general, apply. Prout won contemporary renown for his demonstration (1823) of the presence of free hydrochloric acid in the gastric juice of the stomach. He wrote many papers on the chemistry of the blood and urine.
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William Prout, who also entered Guy's in 1811, understood this clearly.
From protyle to proton: William Prout and the nature of matter 1785-1985.
Finally in 1817, a pure urea product was isolated, its properties, appearance, and chemical reactions were described, and its analysis was accurately determined by William Prout (first exhibited, he said, at some lectures he had given 3 years earlier).
In 1824, William Prout showed that the acid of the gastric juice was hydrochloric acid.
The black color was produced by an unknown principle, which when combined with ammonia, was appropriately named "melanic acid" by William Prout.