The material consists of an abridgement of the lectures of Professor James David Forbes on natural history.
Work of Professor Balfour Stewart (1828-1887)
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- ReferenceGB 237 Coll-504
- Dates of Creation1845-1846
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish.
- Physical Description7 manuscript volumes of notebooks Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Balfour Stewart was born in Edinburgh on 1 November 1828. He was educated in Dundee, at St. Andrews University and then at Edinburgh University. At the latter, he attended the lectures of Professor James David Forbes (1809-1868). For a time he worked in the office of a Leith merchant and went to Australia on business in 1855. There he acquired a taste for physical science and contributed a couple of articles to the Philosophical Society in Victoria, Australia. When he returned to Britain in 1856 he became an assistant observer at the Kew Observatory, and later on that year an assistant to Forbes in Edinburgh where he conducted research on radiant heat under Forbes' influence. In 1859 he was appointed Director at Kew and devoted himself to the study of meteorology and terrestrial magnetism. During a great magnetic disturbance in 1859, Stewart put forward the view that aurorae, magnetic storms, and earth-currents were due to 'variations in a primary electric current in the sun'. Stewart also investigated the pressure of a given volume of air, a re-determination of the density of mercury, and sun spots. In July 1870 he was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at the then Owens College, Manchester (University of Manchester). Professor Balfour Stewart died at Ballymagarvey, near Drogheda on 19 December 1887.
Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.
The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Lee, Sidney. (ed.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 18, Shearman-Stovin. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1909.
Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.
Other Finding Aids
Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.
Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.