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Thomas Young

TY Thomas Young (1773-1829), Egyptologist

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.

Letter and papers, 1818

2 items

index of people, places and institutions

TY/1 Letter from M. A. Nicholson about engravings of inscriptions in the British Museum, London
11 Sep 1818
2 items
With 2 engravings of a hieratic manuscript in the possession of the Earl of Mountnorris

These items were transferred to the Library from Cambridge University Observatory. They were found amongst the papers of George Airy. The verso of one of the engravings is addressed to Airy, 4 Oct 1827.