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[Perspectives] Physician turned physicist

In the first quarter of the 19th century, the natural philosophers Humphry Davy, Thomas Young, and William Hyde Wollaston dominated science in the UK. Strangely, all three died in 1828–29. But whereas Davy and Young are remembered, Wollaston is largely forgotten; a biography by a friend fizzled out in the 1850s, and his manuscripts disappeared until 1949. Yet, as The Lancet stated in 1888: “although [Wollaston] later on abandoned the practice of the healing art for physical research, his genius and his achievements must ever remain prized and treasured ornaments of the profession”.

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