John Leslie, Scottish physicist

John Leslie, Scottish physicist

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Credit: ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: John Leslie (1766-1832), Scottish physicist. Leslie was born of humble stock at Largo in Fife. After a local education, at just 13 years of age, he went up to the University of St. Andrews, after which he went to Edinburgh to study divinity. After graduating he took posts tutoring and completed a translation of Buffon's 'Natural History of Birds', the publication of which brought him an income. His studies concentrated on physics, notably thermal radiation. He invented the Leslie Cube - a container with one polished side, one dull black side and two copper sides. He showed that the black side was a strong radiator of heat while the polished side gave off almost nothing. Leslie was the first to give a modern account of capillary action, he also used an air pump to freeze water - the first artificially made ice. He published many books on science and maths, and was knighted in 1832.

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Keywords: 1700s, 1800, 18th, 19th, action, air, british, capillary, century, child, cube, heat, ice, john, leslie, physicist, portrait, prodigy, pump, radiant, scottish, thermal radiation, vertical

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