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Balfour Stewart


1828 - 1887

Physicist and meteorologist. Born in Edinburgh, the son of a tea merchant, Stewart studied at the Universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh. He worked for a time in Edinburgh as assistant to Professor Forbes (1809-68), but went on to become Director of the Kew Observatory in 1859 and Professor of Physics in Manchester (1870). He was a pioneer in studying the upper atmosphere. Stewart is noted for his seminal work on radiant heat and also for understanding the contribution of electric currents in the ionosphere to the earth's magnetic field.

Stewart published The Unseen Universe jointly with another physicist Peter Guthrie Tait (1831 - 1901), a work which argued that science was not incompatible with religious doctrines.


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