David Brewster

David Brewster

David Brewster

Birth : 11 December 1781 Canongate,Jedburgh,Roxburghshire

Death : 10 February 1868(1868-02-10)(aged 86) Allerly House,Gattonside, Roxburghshire

Personal Information

Name David Brewster
Birth 11 December 1781 Canongate,Jedburgh,Roxburghshire
Birth Place Canongate,Jedburgh,Roxburghshire
Death (1868-02-10)(aged 86) Allerly House,Gattonside, Roxburghshire
Died At Allerly House,Gattonside, Roxburghshire
Nationality Great Britain
Alma Mater University of Edinburgh
Fields Physics,mathematics,astronomy
Famous Research Physical optics,Brewster's angle,photoelasticity,stereoscope,kaleidoscope

Word Cloud

Events Occured in Scienctist Life

1831

Brewster published a detailed biography of Newton in 1831 and later became the first scientific historian to examine many of the papers in Newton's Nachlass.

1849

Brewster also wrote numerous works of popular science, and was one of the founders of the British Science Association, of which he was elected President in 1849.

1800

He received his MA in 1800, was licensed as a minister of the Church of Scotland, and then preached around Edinburgh on several occasions.

1807

As early as 1807 the degree of LL.D. was conferred upon Brewster by Marischal College, Aberdeen; in 1815 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and received the Copley Medal; in 1818 he received the Rumford Medal of the society; and in 1816 the French Institute awarded him one-half of the prize of three thousand francs for the two most important discoveries in physical science made in Europe during the two preceding years.

1821

In 1821, he was made a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and in 1822 a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

1817

Brewster chose renowned achromatic lens developer Philip Carpenter as the sole manufacturer of the kaleidoscope in 1817.

1817

Although Brewster patented the kaleidoscope in 1817 (GB 4136), a copy of the prototype was shown to London opticians and copied before the patent was granted.

1849

An instrument of more significance, the stereoscope, which – though of much later date (1849) – along with the kaleidoscope did more than anything else to popularise his name, was not as has often been asserted the invention of Brewster.

1838

Sir Charles Wheatstone discovered its principle and applied it as early as 1838 to the construction of a cumbersome but effective instrument, in which the binocular pictures were made to combine by means of mirrors.

1823

A dogged rival of Wheatstone's, Brewster was unwilling to credit him with the invention, however, and proposed that the true author of the stereoscope was a Mr. Elliot, a "Teacher of Mathematics" from Edinburgh, who, according to Brewster, had conceived of the principles as early as 1823 and had constructed a lensless and mirrorless prototype in 1839, through which one could view drawn landscape transparencies, since photography had yet to be invented.

1812

Although Fresnel, who had also the satisfaction of being the first to put it into operation, perfected the dioptric apparatus independently, Brewster was active earlier in the field than Fresnel, describing the dioptric apparatus in 1812.

1820

Brewster pressed its adoption on those in authority at least as early as 1820, two years before Fresnel suggested it, and it was finally introduced into lighthouses mainly through Brewster's persistent efforts.

1799

He began writing in 1799 as a regular contributor to the Edinburgh Magazine, of which he acted as editor at the age of twenty.

1807

In 1807, he undertook the editorship of the newly projected Edinburgh Encyclopædia, of which the first part appeared in 1808, and the last not until 1830.

1816

He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1816.In 1819 Brewster undertook further editorial work by establishing, in conjunction with Robert Jameson (1774–1854), the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, which took the place of the Edinburgh Magazine.

1824

After parting company with Jameson, Brewster started the Edinburgh Journal of Science in 1824, 16 volumes of which appeared under his editorship during the years 1824–1832, with very many articles from his own pen.

1831

In 1831 he published the Life of Sir Isaac Newton, a short popular account of the philosopher's life, in Murray's Family Library, followed by an 1832 American edition in Harper's Family Library; but it was not until 1855 that he was able to issue the much fuller Memoirs of the Life, Writings and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton, a work which embodied the results of more than 20 years' investigation of original manuscripts and other available sources.

1831

Its first meeting was held at York in 1831; and Brewster, along with Babbage and Sir John Herschel, had the chief part in shaping its constitution.

1838

In 1838, he was appointed principal of the united colleges of St Salvator and St Leonard, University of St Andrews.

1849

In 1849, he acted as president of the British Association and was elected one of the eight foreign associates of the Institute of France in succession to J. J. Berzelius; and ten years later, he accepted the office of principal of the University of Edinburgh, the duties of which he discharged until within a few months of his death.

1855

In 1855, the government of France made him an Officier de la Légion d'honneur.

1843

It was Brewster who suggested Talbot only patent his process in England, initiating the development of early photography in Scotland and eventually allowing for the formation of the first photographic society in the world, the Edinburgh Calotype Club, in 1843.

1850

Brewster was a prominent member of the club until its dissolution sometime in the mid-1850s; however, his interest in photography continued, and he was elected the first President of the Photographic Society of Scotland when it was founded in 1856.Of a high-strung and nervous temperament, Brewster was somewhat irritable in matters of controversy; but he was repeatedly subjected to serious provocation.

1824

In addition to the various works of Brewster already mentioned, the following may be added: Notes and Introduction to Carlyle's translation of Legendre's Elements of Geometry (1824); Treatise on Optics (1831); Letters on Natural Magic, addressed to Sir Walter Scott (1832)

1736

Drawn from Authentic Sources of Information; with an Account of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, from Its Institution in 1736, to the Present Time, published in 1804, when he was only 23.

1845

In 1845 he wrote a highly critical review of the evolutionist work Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, in the North British Review.

1810

They married on 31 July 1810 in Edinburgh and had four sons and a daughter:

1812

James (1812–) Charles Macpherson (1813–1828), drowned.

1815

David Edward Brewster (17 August 1815 –) became a military officer (Lieutenant Colonel) serving in India.

1857

Brewster married a second time in Nice, on 26 (or 27) March 1857, to Jane Kirk Purnell (b. 1827), the second daughter of Thomas Purnell of Scarborough.

1860

Lady Brewster famously fainted at the Oxford evolution debate of 30 June 1860.

1868

Brewster died in 1868, and was buried at Melrose Abbey, next to his first wife and second son.

2015

He appears as a minor antagonist in the 2015 video game Assassin's Creed Syndicate as a scientist working for the game's opposing faction.

2015

A street within the Kings Buildings complex (science buildings linked to Edinburgh University) was named in his memory in 2015.

1854

Further reading Brewster, David (1854).

2009

Murray (reissued by Cambridge University Press, 2009; ISBN 978-1-108-00416-9)