Count Rumford, Anglo-American scientist and administrator, 1798.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Count Rumford (1753-1814), also known as Sir Benjamin Thompson, worked as a secret agent for the British army at the colonial office in London, and later in Bavaria as Count of the Holy Roman Empire. His involvement in science was wide ranging but he is best known for his pioneering work on heat. His experiments proved the motion, as opposed to calorific, theory of heat. In 1800 he founded the Royal Institution, London.