John William Draper was the son of an itinerant Methodist preacher who possessed a Gregorian telescope and who evidently encouraged the boy’s scientific interests. The father had purchased two shares in the new London University intended to accommodate scientists, workingmen, and Dissenters, but he died before his son commenced his premedical studies at University College (as it later became) in 1829.
There Draper studied chemistry under Edward Turner, an admirer of Berzelius and the author of one of the earliest English textbooks in organic chemistry. Turner interested Draper in the chemical effects of light and thereby gave his career a decisive turn. At a time when Parliament had not yet broken the mono
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