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The Last Years

The Last Years


(p.330) Chapter 14 The Last Years
Pure Intelligence
Melvyn C. Usselman
University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the last few years of Wollaston’s life, during which he more frequently engaged in outdoor pursuits such as fishing and shooting expeditions. He donated some of the last platinum in his possession to Faraday’s researches on optical glass and published papers on the brightness of stars, a two-fluid barometer and a double lens setup for microscopes that became known as a Wollaston doublet. In late 1827, Wollaston began to suffer from intermittent paralysis in his left arm and in late 1828 his worsening condition confined him to his home. In preparation for death, he bequeathed his belongings to family, made donations to the Royal, the Geological and the Astronomical Societies, and prepared personal gifts to many friends, which were distributed just prior to his death on Dec. 22, 1828. The chapter also gives examples of his mental acuteness just prior to death.

Keywords:   William Hyde Wollaston, optical glass, brightness of stars, Wollaston doublet, paralysis, donations to science societies

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