Jul 252016

James David Forbes' house.86 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 3BU

James David Forbes, who was born at this address, pipped his mentor David Brewster to the post of Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh in 1833, much to the disgust of the latter. As Brewster was aware, Forbes’ appointment owed more to political connections rather than to his scientific reputation. Nonetheless, he went on to do important research on the polarisation and refraction of radiant heat. This work revealed the similarity of heat to visible light,  promoting the idea of a continuous spectrum of radiation. He also taught Edinburgh’s most famous physicist, James Clerk Maxwell.

The ground floor of the house is now a shop.

James David Forbes (1809–68).

James David Forbes (1809–68).

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