Bath thermal waters: 400 years in the history of geochemistry and hydrogeology
The importance of the Bath thermal springs in the development of science over some 400 years is explored. Several references to the springs from Saxon times and the Middle Ages give qualitative information of interest for the present day. The springs have drawn some of the most famous philosophers and scientists to test new theories and develop hypotheses on the nature of matter and to develop early ideas in the chemical and geological sciences. Theories on the hydrological cycle and on hydrogeology were tested and the springs have a long history as a site for discoveries in chemistry and natural radioactivity. Interest in the springs continues to the present day. Whilst our knowledge of the origin of the water, the heat, the detailed chemistry and other properties has been resolved, some questions still remain for the attention of future generations and for the application of advancing scientific methods.