John Tyndall (8/2/1820 - 12/4/1893)

Timeline created by jackrattan
  • Youghal

    John Tyndall was hired at the Ordnance Survey Office at Youghal because of his abilities in mathematics. He was a surveyor on several railway lines in North England. During his time at this job, his health suffered because he would be up all night poring over plans and stressing to meet deadlines.
  • Breakdown

    He wrote in his journal: "Completely broken down." The stress of the job hit its peak and he had to make a change.
  • Queenwood

    After recovering, he started to teach mathematics at Queenwood in Hampshire. He set up one of the first school science laboratories. He also livened up the lessons for the adult students by letting them inhale laughing gas.
  • The Greenhouse Effect

    The Greenhouse Effect
    He built on the previous work of Joseph Fourier and what we now know as the Greenhouse Effect. At this time, he began to study radioactive properties of various gases. He constructed the first ratio spectrometer and used this to measure the absorptive powers of gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and hydro carbons. He was able to show that the effect was due to a very small proportion of the atmosphere with main gases having no effect, and was largely due to water vapor.
  • Scientist Rights

    Scientist Rights
    He had always fought for the rights of scientists and their work. At this time, his passion for justice was greatly inspired by the bitter scientific controversy concerning the priority rights of J.R. Mayer. Tyndall supported his cause as originator of the conservation-of-energy concept.
  • The Tyndall Effect

    The Tyndall Effect
    He discovered the scattering of light by dust and large molecules. He noticed that a beam of light, visible as it passed through original laboratory air, disappeared when it entered a flask of pure filtered water. He then passes a light beam through filtered air and got the same result, no beam. He deduced that light bounces off little particles and into our eyes, allowing us to see the beam. This is now known as the Tyndall Effect.
  • Science and Faith

    Science and Faith
    He made an address in Belfast in which he firmly advocated the right of science to follow its course without restrictions by dogma or theology. He firmly denied that there was any basic conflict between science and religion.