David Brewster


(c) The Royal Society of Edinburgh; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Biographical Sketch of David Brewster

Sir David Brewster, a Scottish physicist, mathematician, astronomer, inventor, writer, historian of science and university principal, most noted for his contributions to the field of optics, he studied the double refraction by compression and discovered the photoelastic effect, which gave birth to the field of optical mineralogy. For his work, William Whewell dubbed him the “Father of modern experimental optics” and “the Johannes Kepler of Optics.” Recognized as the inventor of the kaleidoscope and an improved version of the stereoscope applied to photography.

Born in England, 1781-1868
Founder of modern experimental optics


Copley Medal, 1815
Rumford Medal, 1818
Keith Prize, 1827-9, 1829-1831
Royal Medal, 1839

Brewster’s Declarations

“It can’t be presumption to be sure [of our forgiveness] because it is Christ’s work, not ours; on the contrary, it is presumption to doubt His word and work.”

“I shall see Jesus, and that will be grand. I shall see Him who made the worlds.”

David Brewster

In 1845, Brewster wrote a critical review of a populist evolutionist book, the Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, in the North British Review. Later, Brewster wrote a review of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species entitled The Facts and Fancies of Mr Darwin in Good Words (1862) noting that Darwin’s book combined both “interesting facts and idle fancies” which made up a “dangerous and degrading speculation.”





Book Description

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Darwin, Then and Now is a journey through the most amazing story in the history of science - the history of evolution. The book encapsulates who Darwin was, what he said, and what scientists have discovered since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859.

With over 1,000 references, Darwin Then and Now is a historical chronicle of the rise and fall of the once popular theory of biological evolution.