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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Search Results for: Keyword: 'cheese'

Term: Babcock, Stephen Moulton 1843 - 1931


Dr. Stephen Babcock with butterfat tester, 1926 (WHi-5585)

agricultural chemist, inventor, professor, b. Bridgewater, N.Y. He graduated from Tufts in 1866; then studied engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and chemistry at Cornell (1872- 1875), and received his doctorate in organic chemistry from the Univ. of Gottingen in 1879. From 1882 to 1887 he was agricultural chemist with the New York Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva, N.Y. In 1887 he came to the Univ. of Wisconsin as professor of agricultural chemistry, a position that he held until 1913. During that period he also served as chief chemist of the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station, and was its assistant director from 1901 to 1913. In 1890 he perfected the Babcock test, a device to measure the fat content of milk. The invention, which he refused to patent, was widely acclaimed and won grand prizes at the Paris (1900) and St. Louis (1904) expositions. In 1897 Babcock helped develop the "cold storage" method of curing cheese. He did much of the lab work involved in improving cream separators and, in 1900, began his experiments on nutritional needs of cattle. These "hidden hunger" tests led to the discovery of vitamin A by others. Babcock also invented a device to test the viscosity of liquids, and worked on an apparatus for the pasteurization of milk. From the time of his retirement in 1913 until his death, Babcock worked in his university laboratory on the problem of the nature of energy in its transference through ether. W. L. Crow, Wis. Lives of Natl. Interest (Appleton, 1937); M. Curti and V. Carstensen, Univ. of Wis. (2 vols., Madison, 1949); E. J. Dies, Titans of the Soil (Chapel Hill [1949]); Encyclopedia Americana (30 vols., 1954); Madison Wis. State Journal, July 2, 1931.

View a related article at the Wisconsin Magazine of History 

View contemporary newspaper articles about Stephen Babcock in our Wisconsin Local History & Biographies collection

View pictures of Stephen Babcock and his work at Wisconsin Historical Images

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]
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