Count Rumford, US-British physicist

Count Rumford, US-British physicist

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Credit: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection/NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY/ SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Count Rumford (1753-1814), US-British physicist. Born Benjamin Thompson, in Massachusetts, USA, he joined the army at 18, acting as a secret agent for the British. He fled to England in 1776 and studied projectiles. Elected to the Royal Society in 1779, he was later knighted (1784). Appointed adviser to the Elector of Bavaria, he carried out his most influential work, studying the boring of cannons to show that heat was due to the motion of particles in the body being heated. His honours included the Order of St Stanislaus (1786) and Count of the Holy Roman Empire and the Order of the White Eagle (1791, star badge on lapel). Lithograph by Josef Anton Selb (1784-1832) after a portrait by Johann Georg von Dillis (1759-1841).

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