The battle between Newton’s and Huygens’ competing theories was to be settled by an unlikely figure. Thomas Young was a doctor who never worked full time in physics. He was the epitome of the enthusiastic amateur, trying his hand at everything that interested him. Young worked on botany and physiology, brought the concept of elasticity to engineering and produced mortality tables to help insurance companies set their premiums. He made the first translation ever of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, contributed ideas to philosophy and still managed to keep his medical practice in London going.
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