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William Whewell, British polymath

William Whewell, British polymath

C006/4432

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Credit

ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

William Whewell. Portrait of the British polymath William Whewell (1794-1866). Whewell was the son of a master carpenter. He spent most of his life at Cambridge University where he was appointed to the chair of mineralogy. By 1838 he was professor of Moral Philosophy, and in 1841 he became master of Trinity College. His interests included mechanics and dynamics, magnetism and electricity. He published many papers on tides, hoping to develop a general theory to allow accurate tidal predictions. He eventually concluded that this was not possible without detailed study of the particular coastline. He also wrote two important studies on the history and philosophy of science.

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