Young, Thomas, 1773-1829 (physician, physicist and egyptologist)
- Existence: 1773 - 1829
Thomas Young was born in Milverton, Somerset, 13 June 1773. He studied medicine at London and Edinburgh, 1792-4, and physics at Göttingen, 1795-7. He was a fellow commoner at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, 1797-9. He practised as a physician in London and conducted research into the eye, identifying the cause of astigmatism and publishing a three colour theory of perception. He was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Royal Institution, 1801-3, and Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, 1802-29. He carried out experiments on the diffraction of light and established a principle of interference that supported a wave rather than a corpuscular theory of light. He also worked on surface tension, elasticity and a scientific definition of energy. He married Eliza Maxwell, 1804. He retired from medical practice, 1814, and devoted himself to his research. He became interested in Egyptology and worked on deciphering the Rosetta Stone. He founded an Egyptian Society to publish hieroglyphic inscriptions, 1819, and later turned to the study of Demotic, 1827. He died in London, 10 May 1829.
Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:
Letter from M.A. Nicholson about engravings of inscriptions in the British Museum, London, 11 Sept 1818 with 2 engravings of a hieratic manuscript in the possession of the Earl of Mountnorris. They were found among the papers of George Airy and the versof one of the engravings is addressed to Airy, 4 Oct. 1827.