William Whewell, English polymath, c 1820s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Lithograph by W D, 1835, after an original drawing by Eden Upton Eddis, c 1820s. Whewell (1794-1866) was one of the most influential scientific minds of the 19th century. A carpenter's son from Lancaster, Whewell won a scholarship to Cambridge University in 1812. In 1819 he published his first textbook, 'An Elementary Treatise on Mechanics', which became the standard text used by students at Cambridge. He taught and wrote extensively on astronomy, geology, mechanics, mineralogy, theology and architecture, but is best known for his writing on the history and philosophy of science. He was President of the British Asociation for the Advancement of Science and of the Geological Society. Published by Thomas McLean of London, 26 July 1835.