Record

Authorised form of nameYoung; Thomas (1773 - 1829); Physician, Physicist and Egytologist
SurnameYoung
ForenamesThomas
Dates1773 - 1829
NationalityBritish
Dates and placesBirth:
Milverton, Somerset, England (13 June 1773)
Death:
London (10 May 1829)
Burial:
Farnborough, Kent
ActivityResearch Field:
Natural philosophy
Career:
Made pioneering contribution to the understanding of light by demonstrating interference patterns, known as 'Young's fringes' (1800) which led to the Young-Fresnel undulatory theory. He also formulated an important measure of elasticity, known as 'Young's Modulus'. First to explain the accommodation of the eye; discovered the phemomenon of astigmatism; and proposed the three colour theory of vision which was later known as the Young-Hemholz theory, and was finally confirmed experimentally in 1959. Appointed to a professorship of natural philosphy at the Royal Institution (1801). His lectures at Royal Institution (1802-1803) were described by Joseph Larmor as "the greatest and most original of all general lecture courses". Undertook seminal work on the Rosetta Stone, deciphering the second type of Egyptian script on the stone, known as demotic, though the credit for finally reading the hieroglyphs belongs to Jean-Francois Champollion. A major scholar in ancient Greek, and a phenomenal linguist who coined the term 'Indo-European' for the language family which includes Greek and Sanscrit. Also a distinguished physician at St. George's Hospital, adviser to the Admiralty on shipbuilding, secretary of the Board of Longitude, and superintendent of the vital 'Nautical Almanac' from 1818 to 1829. Contributed many entries to the 'Encyclopaedia Britannica' (1816-1825). Physician to and inspector of calculations for the Palladian Insurance Company (1824-1829).
Royal Society activityMembership:
Fellow
Election Date:
19/06/1794
Lectures:
Bakerian 1800, 1801, 1803; Croonian 1808
Council:
For Sec 1804-1829
RelationshipsNephew of Richard Brocklesby (FRS 1747); married Eliza Maxwell (1804)
SourcesSources:
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB
References:
John R Levene, 'Sir George Biddell Airy, FRS (1801-1892) and the Discovery and Correction of Astigmatism' in NR 1966 vol 21 pp 180-199
G N Cantor, 'Thomas Young's Lectures at the Royal Institution' in NR 1970 vol 25 pp 87-112
Linde Katritzky, 'Coleridge's Links with Leading Men of Science' in NR 1995 vol 49 pp 261-276
Sir John Meurig Thomas, 'Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford and the Royal Institution' in NR 1999 vol 53 pp 11-25
Alex D D Craik, 'James Ivory, FRS, mathematician: "the most unlucky person that ever existed"' in NR 2000 vol 54 pp 223-247
W P Griffith and P J T Morris, 'Charles Hatchett FRS (1765 - 1847), chemist and discoverer of niobium' in NR 2003 vol 57 pp 299 - 31
Andrew Robinson, 'A polymath's dilemma' in 'Nature' Vol 438, November 2005 p 291
Andrew Robinson 'The Last Man Who Knew Everything' 2006, Pi Press
Royal Society codeNA7947
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
MM/10/8Letter from Francisco de Borja Garcao Stockler to Thomas Young, Secretary, Royal Societylate 18th - early 19th century
MM/8/84'Postscript to Dr Young's Letter on the Reduction of Experiments'1819
P/0146Young, Thomas
AP/11/25On the nature and properties of straight lined angles20/01/1824
DM/3/127Bill from William Cary, Mathematical Instrument Maker, for £28.4.031 May 1816
DM/3/131Bill and Receipt, Thomas Young and Handley & MooreNovember 1816-July 1817
AP/9/26A letter from Mr Stockler Foreign Member RS to Dr Young on some general expressions for the limits of functions (Sur les Limites des Fonctions) 29 June 1820
DM/4/125Letter from Thomas Young, Board of Longitude, to W T Brande, Secretary, Royal Society7 February 1824
AP/12/13Memorial and Petition of Charles Hudson late of Calcutta but now of Howrah opposite Calcutta in Bengal on the Quadrature of the Circle10/09/1828
AP/9/23Observations on the new system of diagonal framing, introduced into the Royal Navy by R Seppings22 April 1819
MS/242Letters to Thomas Young from Messrs Arago, Biot, Bessel, Berzelius, Fresnel, Malus, Humboldt, Laplace, Poisson and Wollaston17 December 1847
IM/005040Young, Thomasnd
CB/1/1/137Letter from Sir Joseph Banks, Soho Square to Charles Blagden, Paris5 December 1814
MM/14/3'Estimate of Works proposed to be done for Dr Young at the Royal Institution Abermarle Street', by Joshua RamseySeptember 1827
CB/1/1/136Letter from Sir Joseph Banks, Soho Square to Charles Blagden, Paris25 November 1814
CB/1/1/130Letter from Sir Joseph Banks, Soho Square to Charles Blagden, Paris2 January 1814
CB/1/1/141Letter from Sir Joseph Banks, Soho Square to Charles Blagden14 February 1815
CB/1/1/144Letter from Sir Joseph Banks, Soho Square to Charles Blagden28 February 1815
IM/005038Young, Thomasnd
L&P/10/51Paper, 'Observations on vision' by Thomas Young1793
L&P/12/60Paper, 'Experiments and observations relative to physical optica' [Bakerian Lecture] by Thomas Young1803
L&P/10/51/1Paper, 'Observations on vision' by Thomas Young1793
L&P/12/32Paper, 'Account of some cases of the production of colours, not hithero described' by Thomas Young1802
L&P/11/116Paper, 'Outlines of expriments and inquiries respecting sound and light' by Thomas Young1799
L&P/11/116/1Paper, 'Outlines of expriments and inquiries respecting sound and light' by Thomas Young1799
L&P/11/144/2Plate, 'At the vertex of a given triangle, to place a given refracting surface, so that the incident and refracted rays may coincide with the sides of the triangle' by Thomas Young1800
L&P/10/51/2Plate, 'A vertical section of the ox's eye, of twice the natural size' by Thomas Young1793
L&P/11/144/5Plate, 'The successive forms of the image of a large distant object, as it would be delineated by each refractive surface in the eye; to show how that form at last coincides with the retina' by Thomas Young1800
L&P/11/144/7Plate, 'Various forms of the image depicted by a cylindrical pencil of rays obliquely refracted by a spherical surface, when received on planes at distances progressively greater' by Thomas Young1800
L&P/11/144/3Plate, 'At the vertex of a given triangle, to place a given refracting surface, so that the incident and refracted rays may coincide with the sides of the triangle' by Thomas Young1800
L&P/11/172/1Paper, 'On the theory of light and colours' [Bakerian Lecture] by Thomas Young1801
L&P/12/86Paper, 'Essay on the cohesion of fluids' by Thomas Young1804
L&P/11/144Paper, 'On the mechanism of the eye' by Thomas Young1800
L&P/11/144/8Plate, 'The crenated zone, and the globules regularly arranged on the crystalline of the partridge' by Thomas Young1800
L&P/11/144/1Paper, 'On the mechanism of the eye' by Thomas Young1800
L&P/11/172Paper, 'On the theory of light and colours' [Bakerian Lecture] by Thomas Young1801
CB/1/1/173Letter from Sir Joseph Banks, Soho Square to Charles Blagden23 February 1820
IM/005041Young, Thomas1996
MM/9/7Letter from Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, Dover, to Sir Joseph Banks21 September 1801
MM/8/83Letter from Dr Thomas Young, Admiralty, to Sir Joseph Banks20 May 1819
DM/3/49BLetter from J F W Herschel, Secretary, Royal Society, to JT Cooper19 November 1827
CB/1/1/138Letter from Sir Joseph Banks, Soho Square to Charles Blagden, Paris13 December 1814
L&P/11/144/4Plate, 'The form of the ends of the optometer, when made of card. The apertures in the shoulders are for holding a lens: the square ends turn under, and are fastened together' by Thomas Young1800
EC/1794/04Young, Thomas: certificate of election to the Royal Society
CB/1/1/170Letter from Sir Joseph Banks, Soho Square to Charles Blagden1 January 1820
IM/005039Young, Thomasnd
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