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Thomas Jefferson. Engraving of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), American scientist, the third presi- dent of the United States of America (1800-09) and the author of the American Declaration of Indepen- dence. A plantation owner's son, Jefferson trained as a lawyer but claimed to have "an abiding passion for mathematics and the natural sciences, particularly those branches applicable to agricul- ture". He was in contact with some of the leading figures in the European scientific Enlightenment and helped to introduce their discoveries and new ways of thinking to the USA. He also carried out systematic, archaeological excavations of American Indian burial mounds in Virginia in 1784.
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