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Benjamin Hobson - a pioneer of modern Chinese chemistry

Chang Hao (Technical University Berlin)

In 1855 and for the first time in China, Benjamin Hobson (1808 - 1871) introduced the chemical elements oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen in his book "Bo Wu Xin Bian (Natural Philosophy)". Although the three elements have not been translated according to their English terms and the relation of oxygen and nitrogen had been interpreted as Yin-Yang-characteristic of the atmosphere, these terms are still being used today.

Benjamin Hobson has become a "model medical missionary". His success in the field of missionary work consisted of combining "the labor of the spiritial teacher" and "the medical practice of the physician".

Until then (1868) no other missionary had been writing so many books on natural science and medicin.

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