1781 – Born on December 11th in Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, Scotland. Scottish physicist noted for his experimental work in optics and polarized light—i.e., light in which all waves lie in the same plane.
– Brewster was educated for the ministry at the University of Edinburgh, but his interest in science deflected him from pursuing this profession.
1799 – He began his investigations of light.
– His most important studies involved polarization, metallic reflection, and light absorption.
1815 – He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.
1816 – He invented the kaleidoscope.
1831 – He was knighted.
1838 – He became principal of the United College of St. Salvator and St. Leonard of the University of St. Andrews.
1840 – He improved the stereoscope by utilizing lenses to combine the two dissimilar binocular pictures and produce the three-dimensional effect.
– Brewster was instrumental in persuading the British to adopt the lightweight, flat Fresnel lens for use in lighthouses.
1855 – Among Brewster’s numerous published works, his Treatise on Optics and Memoirs of the Life, Writings and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton are probably the most important.
1859 – Became principal of the University of Edinburgh.
1868 – Died on February 10th in Allerby, Melrose, Roxburghshire.