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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Professor Alexander William Bickerton

Professor Alexander William Bickerton, who fills the Chair of Chemistry and Physics at Canterbury College, was born at Alton, Hampshire, England, in 1842. His earlier education was received at the local grammar school in his native place, and he afterwards studied as a civil and mechanical engineer. Having obtained a national medal at Painswick. Gloucestershire, he made a study of science, and subsequently taught science under the Science and Art Department in Birmingham, where he organised large science classes. He obtained a Royal Exhibition at the Royal School of Mines, where be studied, and also at the College of Chemistry for three years, obtaining the Senior Royal Scholarship. During this period he continued teaching classes in London, which grew to be among the largest and most successful in England. He was afterwards appointed to conduct experimental science work at the Hartley Institution, and while there was offered several professorships, including that at Canterbury College, which he accepted in 1874, arriving at Lyttelton per ship “Atrato” during the same year, to take up his duties. Professor Biekerton became a Fellow of the Royal Chemistry Society and of the Institute of
Standish and Preece, photo.Professor A. W. Bickerton.

Standish and Preece, photo.
Professor A. W. Bickerton.

page 164 Chemists. He has conducted a large number of experimental researches and performed much extra professional work, having formulated a new cosmic philosophy based on the theory of partial impact and molecular selective escape. The theory has been partially demonstrated by the refinements of modern science, and has received much popular approval. Outside his professional duties, Mr. Bickerton is engaged in efforts for the amelioration of the social condition of the people. As a contributor to literature, he frequently writes to the Press and has published many interesting articles, including “A New Story of the Stars,” in 1897, and recently “The Romance of the Earth,” both published in the “Lyttelton Times,” and which have been widely appreciated. An illustrated edition of “The Romance of the Earth” has been published by Messrs Sonnenschein and Co., of London. This book has been adopted as their recent science book for 1902 by the National Home Reading Union of Great Britain. Messrs Sonnenschein have also published Mr. Bickerton's “Romance of the Heavens.” Professor Bickerton was married to a daughter of Mr. Henry Edwards, of Bridgewater, manager of the railway works, and has five sons and two daughters.