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John Tyndall

  • Birth

    John Tyyndall was born in Leighlinbridge, County Carlow, Ireland.
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    Life before school

    Tyndall was born into a poor Irish family, so to pay for school he worked as a surveyor in Ireland and England, worked railway construction.
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    Earning his Doctrine

    In 1847 John Tyndall taught mathematics at Queenwood College Hampshire. In1848 he went on to study in Germany where he was one of the first British subjects to receive the new PhD in experimental chemistry at Marburg Germany in 1850
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    Royal Institute in London

    After John Tyndall's graduation he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1851. The following year he was appointed as the Professor of Natural Philosophy by the Royal Institute in London, where he spent the rest of his scientific career. Here he became one of the leading figures in Victorian science. He was Professor of Natural Philosophy 1853-1887, Superintendent of the House and Director of the Laboratory 1867-1887, and Honorary Professor, 1887-1893
  • Royal Medal

    John Tyndall was chosen as the recipient to receive a Royal Medal for the physical sciences alongside Charles Darwin for the biological sciences, which he turned down because he felt in all conscience that he could not accept the medal based on his work no being judged properly.
  • The Greenhouse Effect

    The Greenhouse Effect
    John Tyndall used a collection of apparatus to measure the absorptive powers of gases in the atmosphere. He discovered that water vapor absorbs more radiant heat than the gases of the atmosphere and then argued the importance of atmospheric water vapor in moderating the Earth’s climate.
  • Tyndall Effect

    Tyndall Effect
    John Tyndall discovered that when light passes through a clear fluid holding small particles in suspension, the shorter blue wavelengths are scattered more strongly than the red, which explained why the sky is blue in the day but red at sunset. Tyndall Effect - Why does the sky appear blue?
  • Weisshorn

    Tyndall visited the Alps mountains in 1856 to study the movement of glaciers and glacial flow and ended up becoming a pioneering mountain climber. He visited the Alps almost every summer since then. He was a member of the very first mountain-climbing team to reach the top of the Weisshorn Peak.
  • Rumford Medal

    John Tyndall received the Rumford Medal for his researches on the absorption and radiation of heat by gases and vapors.
  • Fireman's Respirator

    Fireman's Respirator
    John Tyndall took Stenhouse’s mask, added a filter of cotton wool saturated with lime, glycerin, and charcoal, and invented the first “fireman’s respirator,” a hood that filtered smoke and gas from air and presented this respirator in 1874, at a meeting of the Royal Society in London while giving his lecture that germs can be carried through the air and enter peoples bodies.
  • Tyndall's Belfast Address

    The British Association for the Advancement of Science met in 1874 in Belfast. John Tyndall delivered the presidential address, topic being the relationship of science, past and present, to philosophical materialism. He set up a ‘conflict’ model of the relations between science and religion, and presents intellectual history as a battle between the dark and the light, theology and science.
  • Marriage

    John Tyndall was introduced to twenty-seven-year-old Louisa Hamilton, daughter of Lord Claud Hamilto in London at a concert. They got married in Westminster Abbey. Louisa became his secretary, helping write up his laboratory notes and books
  • Tyndallization

    John Tyndall conducted his experiments in a specially designed box called “Tyndall chamber” with which he proved that dust carried germs. He proposed a method of sterilization that involves steaming liquids and food products at 100°C on several successive occasions or heating them on three or four occasions to temperatures of 100° to 120°C, with an interval of 24 hours between occasions. It is used for sterilizing medicinal equipment, heating food products.
  • Death

    John Tyndall suffered from insomnia and often took chloral hydrate to treat it. While bedridden and ailing, he had an accidental overdose of this same drug given to him by his wife Louisa. He was buried in Haslemere, Surrey, England, UK.