William Whewell, English polymath, c 1866-1879.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Carte de visite photograph by Maull & Co, London, of William Whewell FRS (1794-1866), 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. From 1820-1840 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, and from 1841until his death he was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.