Works of John Tyndall

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Tyndall: His work and scientific heritage

More About John Tyndall 5 references found in Britannica articles Assorted References membership in X Club In X Club origin of life In life: Hypotheses of origins significance of research In biology: The death of spontaneous generation study of biosphere and temperature In climate: Biosphere controls on minimum temperatures work with ultrasonic waves In acoustics: Modern advances.

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John Tyndall

To emphasize the significance of water…. However, they had extremely vague ideas about how this might be accomplished. The piezoelectric effect, a primary means of producing and sensing ultrasonic waves, was discovered by the French physical chemist Pierre Curie and his brother Jacques in Applications of ultrasonics, however, were not…. Hirst, mathematician; and Herbert Spencer,…. Scattering, in physics, a change in the direction of motion of a particle because of a collision with another particle. As defined in physics, a collision can occur between particles that repel one another, such as two positive or negative ions, and need not involve direct physical contact of the….

History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox! By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. More About John Tyndall 5 references found in Britannica articles Assorted References membership in X Club In X Club origin of life In life: Hypotheses of origins significance of research In biology: The death of spontaneous generation study of biosphere and temperature In climate: Biosphere controls on minimum temperatures work with ultrasonic waves In acoustics: Modern advances.

Tyndall first met Huxley in and the two had a lifelong friendship. Chemist Edward Frankland and mathematician Thomas Archer Hirst , both of whom Tyndall had known since before going to university in Germany, were members too. Others included the social philosopher Herbert Spencer. The speech gave a favourable account of the history of evolutionary theories, mentioning Darwin's name favourably more than 20 times, and concluded by asserting that religious sentiment should not be permitted to "intrude on the region of knowledge , over which it holds no command".

This was a hot topic. The newspapers carried the report of it on their front pages — in the British Isles, North America, even the European Continent — and many critiques of it appeared soon after. The attention and scrutiny increased the friends of the evolutionists' philosophical position, and brought it closer to mainstream ascendancy. In Rome the Pope in decreed that it was an error that "reason is the ultimate standard by which man can and ought to arrive at knowledge" and an error that "divine revelation is imperfect" in the Bible — and anyone maintaining those errors was to be " anathematized " — and in decreed as follows: "The fundamental doctrine of rationalism is the supremacy of the human reason, which, refusing due submission to the divine and eternal reason, proclaims its own independence A doctrine of such character is most hurtful both to individuals and to the State It follows that it is quite unlawful to demand, to defend, or to grant, unconditional [or promiscuous] freedom of thought, speech, writing, or religion.

Luckily for Tyndall he didn't need to get into a contest with them in Britain, nor in most other parts of the world. Even in Italy, Huxley and Darwin were awarded honorary medals and most of the Italian governing class was hostile to the papacy. It would have been a waste of time for Tyndall to debate the Irish Catholics, but between and Tyndall was active in the debate in England about whether to give the Catholics of Ireland more freedom to go their own way.

Like the great majority of Irish-born scientists of the 19th century he opposed the Irish Home Rule Movement. He had ardent views about it, which were published in newspapers and pamphlets. In several essays included in his book Fragments of Science for Unscientific People , Tyndall attempted to dissuade people from believing in the potential effectiveness of prayers. At the same time, though, he was not broadly anti-religious.

Many of his readers interpret Tyndall to be a confirmed agnostic, [58] [59] [60] [61] [62] [63] [64] though he never explicitly declared himself to be so. Let us lower our heads, and acknowledge our ignorance, priest and philosopher, one and all. Tyndall did not marry until age The following year, , they built a summer chalet at Belalp in the Swiss Alps.

Before getting married Tyndall had been living for many years in an upstairs apartment at the Royal Institution and continued living there after marriage until when a move was made to a house near Haslemere 45 miles southwest of London. The marriage was a happy one and without children.

He retired from the Royal Institution at age 66 having complaints of ill health. Tyndall became financially well-off from sales of his popular books and fees from his lectures but there is no evidence that he owned commercial patents. For many years he got non-trivial payments for being a part-time scientific advisor to a couple of quasi-governmental agencies and partly donated the payments to charity. His successful lecture tour of the United States in netted him a substantial amount of dollars, all of which he promptly donated to a trustee for fostering science in America.

In his last years Tyndall often took chloral hydrate to treat his insomnia. When bedridden and ailing, he died from an accidental overdose [69] of this drug in at the age of 73, and was buried at Haslemere. Afterwards, Tyndall's wife took possession of his papers and assigned herself supervisor of an official biography of him.

Further Reading on John Tyndall

She dragged her feet on the project, however, and it was still unfinished when she died in aged Eve and C. Creasey, whom Louisa Tyndall had authorised shortly before her death. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


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This article is about the scientist. For the politician, see John Tyndall politician. For the Canadian poet, see John Tyndall poet. Leighlinbridge , County Carlow, Ireland. Haslemere , Surrey, England. In November all of the signatories to the petition were dismissed from their jobs.

In August Tyndall was hired by a railway surveying company in Lancashire at almost four times higher pay than the government had been paying him. Thompson The Vocational Aspect of Education. Also Eve, A. Life and Work of John Tyndall. Tyndall described himself as the "principal assistant" at the firm — "Tyndall's Obituary for Hirst".

Additional Biography Sources

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Thirty-five years later, he praised Bunsen for explaining chemistry and physics in "the language of experiment" and said "I still look back on Bunsen as the nearest approach to my ideal of a university teacher. In the preface to the collection Tyndall writes about the work's historical context. William T. Jeans' biography of Tyndall pp. As part of that, in a letter to the managers of the Royal Institution on 23 May , Faraday praised Tyndall's abilities as a lecturer: "I have heard him on two or three occasions, when his manner of expounding nature by discourse and experiment was in my judgement excellent".

Historical Perspectives on Climate Change. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 22 March He emphasized that our environment would be much colder at nighttime in the absence of the greenhouse effect. This short, readable lecture is reprinted in his book about radiant heat, available here.

John Tyndall ()

He did this for many different gases, and when the gases were ranked by their emissive powers the rank order was the same as it was for their absorptive powers. These laboratory experiments by Tyndall on "the reciprocity of absorption and radiation on the part of gases" were informed by experiments done on solids by Balfour Stewart in and By the early s this had been generalized in the scientific literature to the principle that any kind of chemical will very strongly absorb the radiations coming from a separate body of the same kind of chemical.

In Tyndall's words this was a "principle which lies at the basis of spectrum analysis, Tyndall made several original observations around by beginning with the assumption that this principle is correct. The following is a summary of one of them. It was well-known at the time that in a flame of burning carbon monoxide, the carbon monoxide chemically combines with the oxygen of the air to form carbon dioxide plus heat. Tyndall observed that if a body of cold or room-temperature carbon dioxide is placed near the flame "the cold gas is intensely opaque to [i.

Tyndall got the same type of result with a flame of burning hydrogen , another flame known to be chemically simple in the sense that very little intermediate or transitory molecules are produced in it. This appears to be the first demonstration that the heat given out in chemical reactions has its physical origination within the new molecules. A related demonstration is in sections 3—8 of Chapter V, dated For a modern analysis of where the heat is coming from in the carbon monoxide flame see R. Dixon Series A. This was in contrast to the easily seen fact in solids such as carbon and platinum where the spectral profile moves towards the quicker frequencies when the temperature is increased.

Thermophoresis was first described by Tyndall in a Royal Institution lecture titled "On Haze and Dust" , year , which is included in Tyndall's book Scientific Addresses. He observed the thermophoresis in gas mixtures. Unrelatedly and unknown to him, thermophoresis was observed in liquid mixtures in by Carl Ludwig. Those experiments demanded "scrupulous accuracy, and minute attention to details", he later said ref.

In one of his other and simpler experiments, infrared plus visible light beaming from an s-vintage electric lamp was brought to a focus point via a powerful concave mirror.


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  • On its way to the focus point, the beam was passed through a body of liquid water. At the focus point, beyond the water, the beam was able to set wood on fire but was not able to melt frozen water. On removal of the intervening body of liquid water, the frozen water rapidly melted. This indicates that frequencies emerging from water are specifically frequencies that water molecules do not absorb and water's phase state does not have a discernible role.

    Contributions to Molecular Physics page year ; and ref page year Gentry; Lin Jui-Chen Journal of Aerosol Science. Bibcode : JAerS.. Tyndall's primary contributions were Tyndall's presentation of the subject begins under the heading "The Identity of Light and Radiant Heat" in his tutorial book Six Lectures on Light. Jaffe Some biographical sketches of Tyndall state that Tyndall "showed that ozone was an oxygen cluster rather than a hydrogen compound" this statement is at Today in Science History and The Encyclopedia of Earth , for example.

    But it is an overstatement, because other researchers had already shown at an earlier date that ozone was an oxygen cluster. Tyndall's experiment just helped to reaffirm it by a different method. Rubin Tyndall writes page 46 : "Gravity is not the only agent It is practically impossible to surround a closed vessel by an absolutely uniform temperature; and where differences of temperature, however small, exist, air-currents will be established.

    By such gentle currents the floating particles are gradually brought into contact with all the surrounding surfaces.

    Books by John Tyndall

    To these they adhere, and the suspended matter finally disappears from the air altogether. Communications between the two were most frequent during the mids. The earliest letter from Pasteur to Tyndall is dated 10 August Pasteur's early research had been in fermentation vats and broths. As he aimed to extend his program to air, he got in touch with Tyndall as someone who was an expert at dealing technically with air.

    The "Dust and Disease" lecture was Tyndall's first publication in this area. Ten years later Tyndall published a page book Essays on the Floating-matter of the Air in relation to Putrefaction and Infection which consists primarily of descriptions of his own experiments. Harvard Case Histories in Experimental Science. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

    In the Royal Society's catalog entries appear under Tyndall's name between and Between and Tyndall published 74 papers in research journals, an average of nearly one every two months. He produced very little after he got sick in

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