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Brewster

Brewster, Sir David (1781-1868), English physicist. Born at Jedburgh, he went at 12 years old to the University of Edinburgh. He was educated for the Church, but timidity is said to have kept him from entering it. In 1802 he became editor of the Edinburgh Magazine, and in 1808 he was chosen to edit the Edinburgh Cyclopaedia. In 1831 he had a hand in starting the British Association, and from 1859 to 1867 he was the principal of the Edinburgh University. But his name is chiefly known by his services to science, and especially for his efforts towards the elucidation of the principles that govern the laws of optics. The kaleidoscope was his invention, and he made such improvements in the stereoscope as almost amounted to a new invention, while he shares with Fresnel the honour of applying the dioptric principle to the illumination of lighthouses. His writings were numerous. Among them may be mentioned his Life of Newton and his Letters on Natural Magic addressed to Sir Walter Scott. There is a life of him edited by his daughter.

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