Armstrong, Henry

Armstrong, Henry

Armstrong, Henry, 1912-88, American boxer, b. Columbus, Miss. He was originally named Henry Jackson. He began his professional career in 1931, and soon became known as a strong and tireless puncher. Armstrong won the featherweight championship from Petey Sarron in 1936, the welterweight title from Barney Ross in 1938, and in his next fight (10 weeks later) he defeated Lou Ambers to win the lightweight crown. He thus held three titles simultaneously; this prompted the National Boxing Association to rule that a champion must vacate a title if he wins another. In his career (1931-45), Armstrong won 144 matches, scored 97 knockouts, and lost 19 fights. After his retirement he was ordained a minister and devoted himself to helping underprivileged youth; Youthtown at Desert Wells, Ariz., was built through his efforts.

See his autobiography (1956).

Henry Edward Armstrong FRS (6 May 184813 July 1937) was an English chemist. Although Armstrong was active in many areas of scientific research, such as the chemistry of naphthalene derivatives, he is remembered today largely for his ideas and work on the teaching of science.

Life and work

Armstrong was born and lived most of his life in Lewisham, a suburb of London. After finishing school in 1864 at age 16, he spent a winter in Gibralter, with a relative, for health reasons. In the spring of 1865, Armstrong returned to England and entered the Royal College of Chemistry in London, now the department of chemistry at Imperial College. Chemical training in those days was not lengthy, and at the age of 18 he was selected by Edward Frankland to assist in devising methods of determining organic impurities in sewage.

Armstrong pursued further studies under Hermann Kolbe at Leipzig, earning a Ph.D. in 1869 for work on "acids of sulfur." A permanent appointment in 1879 at City and Guilds of London Institute, now also a part of Imperial College, followed. At age 36, Armstrong became Professor of Chemistry at yet another Imperial College precursor, the Central Institution in 1884. It was here that he established a three-year diploma course in chemical engineering, "seeing the need for a more scientific attitude of mind among British industrialists

He already had started on the systematic synthesis, degradation, and structural constitution of many naphthalene derivatives in 1881, building on earlier work on benzene derivatives and Erlenmeyer’s proposal for the structure of naphthalene. W. P. Wynne was his most important collaborator; their 263 naphthalene samples, accrued over several decades, are now preserved at Imperial College as the Armstrong-Wynne Collection. This research on naphthalene gave much impetus to the synthetic dye industry.

Armstrong's later researches dealt with terpenes, particularly camphor, with water purification, helping to eradicate typhoid fever, and with crystallography.

In 1887, Armstrong became interested in classifying substituents of benzene in terms of their meta- and ortho-para directing influences. It was in a footnote to an article on that theme in 1890 that his centric formula for benzene first appeared. His six affinities acting within a cycle predated both the discovery of the electron and modern theories of aromaticity. Armstrong recognised that affinities have direction and are not merely point particles, and so he might be said to have anticipated parts of the wave mechanical theories of the 1920s.

Selected writings

- Concerns Armstrong's pronounced skepticism of theories of ionisation in aqueous solutions

Honours and affiliations


Further reading

  • Eyre, J. Vargas (1959). Henry Edward Armstrong. 1848-1937. The Doyen of British Chemists and Pioneer of Technical Education. Toronto: Butterworth and Company.
  • Keeble, F. W. (1941). "Henry Edward Armstrong. 1848-1937". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society 3 229 – 245.
  • Rodd, E. H. (1940). "Henry Edward Armstrong". Journal of the Chemical Society 1418 – 1439.

External links

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