The Chemist: Roberto Duarte Silva

Roberto Duarte Silva 1837-1889

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Roberto D. Silva 1837-1889

On the 56th day of 1837, which was Saturday February 25th,  a son was born to Francisco José Duarte and Mathilde da Rosa Silva and they named him Roberto Duarte Silva. By the age of fourteen Roberto started working as an apprentice at an apothecary, a few years after he migrates to the capital of Portugal where he begins working at Azevedo and Son’s Pharmacy [Farmácia Azevedo e Filhos] while attending the School of Pharmacy [Escola de Farmácia].

Roberto Duarte Silva later moves from Lisbon to the Portuguese Colony of Macau and later to the English Colony of Hong Kong in China, where he opened his own Pharmacy. I was unable to find any other information pertaining to the pharmacies that were opened by Roberto Duarte Silva in Hong Kong and Macau. By 1863, he was living in Paris, France, where he worked in several different Pharmacies and received his bachelors’ degree in Organic Chemistry. By 1867, while working in the laboratory of one of his professors and renowned French chemist Charles-Adolphe Wurtz, Roberto Duarte Silva published his first of many works. Roberto Duarte Silva also taught at École des Mines de Paris, Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, and École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrial de la Ville de Paris and one of his many pupils was the acclaimed french chemist Paul Charles Lepierre.

Roberto Duarte Silva’s face graces one of the bank notes

Roberto Duarte Silva later became the President of the Chemistry Society of Paris, also received the Jecker prize from the French Academy of Science and he would also be honored with the Legion of Honor [highest honor bestowed by the French Govt.] by the French Government for his many contributions to Science. He was also Commander of the Order of São Tiago of Portugal [Comendador da Ordem de São Tiago de Portugal].

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Tomb of Roberto Duarte Silva

While at his house located on Rue Thenard in Paris, France the renowned Cabo Verdean Chemist Roberto Duarte Silva passed away. The date was February 9th, 1889 a few days before his fifty-third birthday. Roberto Duarte Silva is buried at Petit Parnasse cemetery in Paris, France.

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Sources

Faria, Luis António, Suzana Abreu, and Américo C. Araújo. Cabo Verde Terra de Morabeza: Uma Viagem Atraves de Sua Historia e Cultura. Valrico: LAF Enterprises, 2012.

A Semana http://asemana.publ.cv/spip.php?article73551&ak=1

http://www.barrosbrito.com/8522.html

Esquina do Tempo: Magazine Cultural Online – http://brito-semedo.blogs.sapo.cv/58374.html

2 thoughts on “The Chemist: Roberto Duarte Silva”

  1. Congratulations! Parabéns por essas notas biográficas sobre Roberto Duarte Silva, as mais completas que eu tenho conhecimento e lido sobre ele. Foi um químico ilustre que devia ser devidamente mais reconhecido por Cabo Verde. Não se esqueçam de registar que ele nasceu na Vila (hoje cidade) da Ribeira Grande de Santo Antão. A Escola primária da Vila/Cidade tem o nome dele: “Escola Central Roberto Duarte Silva”, um belo edificio de linhas clássicas, ainda de pé e exercendo sua acção docente. (Eu nasci na mesma vila e fiz a instrução primária nesssa escolar. E conheci bem os descendentes da familia Duarte Silva ). Há poucos anos visitei a vila/cidade e só existia uma minuscula placa na parede da casa onde Roberto Duarte Silva nasceu. Ele pertenceu a uma familia ilustre de Santo Antão, que já deu homens de valor para TODA a nossa terra. A mencionar apenas, o Dr. Adriano Duarte Silva, advogado que foi professor e reitor do Liceu Gil Eanes, outro marco histórico da nossa terra, que foi deputado e lutou por Cabo Verde no tempo da Ditadura e fez muito por sua e nossa terra. Infelizmente parece que quiseram apagar da memória o nome deste outro ilustra cobo-verdiano, arrazando, inclusivamente, a casa que lhe pertenceu e onde ele viveu em Mindelo. Continuem a boa obra de valorizar as gentes as nossas ilhas, que merecem não ser esquecidas. Bem hajam! Manuela Chantre de Barros

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good article.Hope it motivates our youngsters to pursuit science. I would like to see some workshops or seminars done in the name of this great chemist at our national Universities.

    I´ll be waiting to see what characters you will present to us in this 2015. Keep up the good work and “boas entradas”.

    Liked by 1 person

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