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Sir David Brewster

Sir David Brewster

C026/8995

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Credit

SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), Scottish physicist whose contributions to the development of optical science were of major importance. In 1812 he formulated Brewster's Law which had the practical use of enabling the refractive index of glass to be determined by reflection rather than refraction. The result of this discovery led to the rapid development and measurement of new optical glasses. He also discovered stress birefringence which is now the basis of photoelastic methods of stress analysis. In 1816 he invented the kaleidoscope. He received the Rumford Medal from the Royal Society for his discoveries on the polarization of light. In 1831 he was one of the founders of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

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