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2. José Júlio Bettencourt Rodrigues and Chemical Technology

Another important figure in the general panorama of Chemistry during the XIX century in Portugal was José Júlio Bettencourt Rodrigues, philosopher and mathematician, as we mentioned previously. The various authors who have studied the figure of José Júlio Bettencourt Rodrigues, past and present, are unanimous in emphasizing his enterprising spirit, his dedication to Chemistry (in particular in his industrial "applications", the model in vogue at the time, that conditioned the development of industry to the effects of Science) and visible expression (he had some activity as journalist and was a passionate amateur photographer), and had a great tendency to transform his interests in true "causes". He was a demanding person and had strict views as to the absolutely indispensable importance of experimental teaching in the area of Science and defended this cause throughout his entire life. A strong defender of the industries, in particular those interested in reform or "nationalization" or innovations (such as the case of printing ink, or sugar beet extraction) he was a protectionist. Lecturer of the 7th subject - Principles of Physics and Chemistry, and Introduction to Natural History of the three kingdoms, at the Industrial e Commercial Institute of Lisbon, in 1884 he accepted the proposition to be transferred to a new Technology subject that had appeared with the reforms of António Augusto de Aguiar, on the 6 th of March 1884, and which was completely new, not only in the Institute, but also at national level (RODRIGUES, 1884, p. 7).

It was given the name of "General Technology" and consisted of a theoretical part «Commercial study of the main natural and manufactured products; Customs legislation; Commercial Treaties », and also a practical part, however this structure was not to continue. Investigation shows that the subject José Júlio Bettencourt Rodrigues accepted to teach in 1884 suffered a number of "mutations" (we do not know up to which point this was the work of the professor himself) which changed it substantially from the original conception. Consequently, from 1884 to 1888 we can see an evolution, from Commercial Chemical Analysis and legal and official aspects linked to the transaction of merchandise, to the description, critical appreciation, industrial evaluation and chemical-industrial processes. The result was a true Chemical Technology subject, which began well in 1888-1889 (see Preliminary Programme for the 10 th subject in Attachment I), with a private advisor coming from the very new Municipal School of Industrial Chemistry and Physics of Paris (we refer to Charles Lepierre) because Bettencourt Rodrigues "disdained" the national offer, intimating that it was not up to standard. It must have been this technology that Alfredo da Silva learnt - Chemistry (see the Laboratory space for the 10 th subject - Chemical Technology in Attachment II-b). The words of his co-student João Pinto Basto, indicate the great interest he dedicated to the subject «I noted his early enthusiasm for industrial chemical matters when we studied together in 1888/9 (cf. BASTO, 1952, p.17), The excellent grades he obtained in this subject and in the 9 th : Mineral and Organic Chemistry; Chemical Analysis, confirms an obvious predisposition for this area.

According to the Regulations of the Industrial and Commercial Institutes of Lisbon and Oporto of February 3rd 1888 , Chemical Technology (10th subject) was included in the study programmes of both Institutes ( Lisbon and Oporto ) as from the secondary level. It was present in the Course of Master of Chemical Arts and in the Special Courses for Factory Directors (Chemical), Customs Officers, and of course in the Higher Education Course of Commerce. It was a sufficiently restricted universe for us to perceive how specific it was and revealed a very surprising effect, the approximation of the Chemical Industry professionals to those connected to the "big" commercial activities, directly or indirectly involved in the macro movement and transaction of merchandise. This approximation however took place only in Lisbon as in Oporto commercial training was restricted to elementary and secondary education levels only.





Magno Urbano