Old Photograph James Dewar Scotland

Old photograph of James Dewar, born in Kincardine-on-Forth in Fife, Scotland. Sir James Dewar, born 20 September 1842, died 27 March 1923, was a Scottish chemist and physicist. He is probably best known today for his invention of the vacuum flask, which he used in conjunction with extensive research into the liquefaction of gases. He was also particularly interested in atomic and molecular spectroscopy, working in these fields for more than 25 years. The the youngest of six boys of Thomas Dewar, a vintner, and his wife, Ann Eadie. James was educated at Kincardine Parish School and then Dollar Academy. He lost his parents when he was 15, soon after leaving the Academy, but was still able to attend University of Edinburgh. In 1875, Dewar was elected Jacksonian professor of natural experimental philosophy at the University of Cambridge, in England, becoming a fellow of Peterhouse. With professor J. G. McKendrick, of Glasgow, he investigated the physiological action of light and examined the changes that take place in the electrical condition of the retina under its influence. With professor G. D. Liveing, one of his colleagues at Cambridge, he began in 1878 a long series of spectroscopic observations, the later of which were devoted to the spectroscopic examination of various gaseous elements separated from atmospheric air by the aid of low temperatures; he was joined by professor J. A. Fleming, of University College London, in the investigation of the electrical behaviour of substances cooled to very low temperatures. He married Helen Rose Banks in 1871. They had no children. Helen was sister-in-law to both Charles Dickson, Lord Dickson and James Douglas Hamilton Dickson.

All photographs are copyright of Sandy Stevenson, Tour Scotland, and may not be used without permission.

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