The Last Man who Knew Everything: Thomas Young, the Anonymous Polymath who Proved Newton Wrong, Explained how We See, Cured the Sick, and Deciphered the Rosetta Stone, Among Other Feats of Genius
Born in 1773, Thomas Young lived in a pivotal time. The explosion of knowledge that was soon to come made it impossible to be a true polymath?a master of multiple disciplines. Young was the last of the polymaths, and his contributions to science are truly staggering. Challenging the theories of Isaac Newton, he was the first to prove that light is a wave; his work on the Rosetta Stone was instrumental in deciphering the language of the ancient Egyptians; and his study of the human eye led him to formulate the three-color theory of vision, more than a century before it could be proved. And yet, Young was ridiculed and rejected by the scientific establishment throughout his lifetime. In "The Last Man Who Knew Everything," Andrew Robinson returns this forgotten genius to his proper position in the pantheon of great scientific thinkers. Thoroughly researched and elegantly executed, Robinson reveals the humble brilliance of a man whose eclectic genius ostracized him from his peers, but whose extraordinary breakthroughs were indispensable in forming the foundation of modern knowledge.
Fellow of the Royal Society
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