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Henry George Madan

Henry George Madan (6 September 1838 – 22 December 1901) was an English chemist, teacher and academic.

He was born in Cam Vicarage, Gloucestershire, England, the eldest child of George Madan. After an education at Marlborough College, he earned an open exhibition at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He earned a B.A. in 1860, became a fellow of the Queens College, Oxford in 1861 and was awarded an M.A. in 1864. He became the science master at Eton College, where he served for twenty years.[1][2] He was elected a Fellow of the Chemical Society and published several works on chemistry and physics.[3] In 1887, he co-published Exercises in practical chemistry with A. G. V. Harcourt, which became a standard textbook for many years thereafter.[4]

In 1877, American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered two satellites orbiting the planet Mars. Various names were proposed, but Asaph chose the suggestion of Henry Madan, who proposed the names Deimus (later Deimos) and Phobus (later Phobos). (These names are found in the Fifteenth Book, line 119 of Homer's Iliad.)[5] Henry was the brother of Falconer Madan (1851–1935), the librarian of the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford. Falconer's granddaughter, Venetia Burney (1918–2009), holds the distinction of being the first person to suggest the name Pluto for the dwarf planet, discovered in 1930.[6]

In 1901, Henry George Madan was injured by a railway truck and needed his arm amputated. His health never recovered and he died several months later.[3]


  • An elementary treatise on heat (1889)
  • Exercises in practical chemistry (1887) with A. G. Vernon Harcourt
  • Lessons in elementary dynamics (1886)
  • Tables of qualitative analysis (1881)


  1. ^ Joseph Foster, eds. (1888). Alumni Oxonienses: the members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886. 3. Oxford University. p. 900.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  2. ^ "H.G. (probably Henry George) Madan". England: The Other Within. Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  3. ^ a b William Crookes, eds. (3 January 1902). "Obituary, Mr. Henry George Madan". The Chemical News. 85 (2197): 10.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Notes and News". The Oxford Magazine. 20 (9): 144. 22 January 1902.
  5. ^ Blunck, Jürgen (2009). "The Satellites of Mars". Solar System Moons: Discovery and Mythology. Springer. ISBN 3-540-68852-8. Retrieved 2013-09-14.
  6. ^ Staff (5 May 2009). "Science Obituaries: Venetia Phair". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-05-25.

Further readingEdit

  • "Obituary notices: Sir Joseph Henry Gilbert, Ph.D., M.A., LL.D., Sc.D., F.R.S., 1817?1901; Henry George Madan; Mr. W. B. Randall; Saville Shaw; Maxwell Simpson; William Thomas Newton Spivey". Journal of the Chemical Society, Transactions. 81: 625. 1902. doi:10.1039/CT9028100625.