Archive for August 2, 2020

Two Hundred Years of Tyndall

Posted in Beards, History, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on August 2, 2020 by telescoper

Just a short post to mark the fact that celebrated Irish physicist John Tyndall was born 200 years ago today, on 2nd August 1820.

Tyndall made his name initially for his research on diamagnetism but then worked on the scattering of light by atmospheric particles, and on the absorption of infrared radiation by gases. In the latter context he is generally credited with having discovered the Greenhouse Effect.

One should also mention his rather splendid beard.

John Tyndall was born at Leighlin Bridge, near Carlow in Ireland. After a little formal schooling, he gained a practical education by working as a surveyor and engineer. He entered the University of Marburg, Germany, in 1848 and earned his doctorate two years later. His dissertation research interested Michael Faraday, who later brought him to the Royal Institution of London. In 1867 Tyndall succeeded Faraday as superintendent there. He retired in 1887 and died in 1893.

The excellent Tyndall National Institute in Cork is named in his honour.