BornEdinburgh, Scotland, 1 November 1828
DiedBallymagarvey, Co. Meath, Ireland, 18 December 1887
Balfour Stewart made pioneering contributions to the study of radiant heat, investigated solar-terrestrial relationships, and constructed a physical model of the solar cycle. The son of a tea merchant, Stewart was first educated in Dundee, and at the early age of 13, entered Saint Andrew’s University. He subsequently transferred to the University of Edinburgh, where he studied natural philosophy under James David Forbes. Under parental pressure, he left the university at age 18 to undertake a business apprenticeship in Leith, which was followed by a commercial venture in Australia.
Having finally decided to opt for physics over business, Stewart returned to Britain, first for a brief stay at Kew Observatory, and, starting in 1853, as an assistant to Forbes at the University of Edinburgh. In 1859, he left Edinburgh to take on the directorship of Kew Observatory. It was during his Kew years...
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