Prof. Sir John Leslie

1766 - 1832

Physicist and inventor. Born in Largo (Fife), Leslie was educated at the Universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh. He became tutor to the Wedgwood family (1790 - 1804) and travelled with them on the continent and to America.

After much wrangling because he was not an ordained minister, he was appointed to the Chair of Mathematics at Edinburgh (1805) and worked on geometry and trigonometry. While engaged in experimental research he became interested in heat transfer and was the first to create artificial ice using an air pump (1810). Remaining at Edinburgh, he became Professor of Natural Philosophy (1819). He published widely, his most notable work being An Experimental Inquiry into Heat (1804), but was also a prodigious inventor, inventing the pyroscope, atmometer and aethrioscope, together with a differential thermometer, a hygrometer, a photometer. Leslie lived for a time at No. 62 Queen Street in Edinburgh's New Town. He was knighted in 1832.

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