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Thomas Young: Physician Polymath. Michael E. Moran, M.D. Southwestern Urology Tucson, AZ Adjunct Associate Professor of Urology University of Florida. or "The Smartest Person Who Ever Lived?". Child Prodigies- not all become adult prodigies Polyglot- childhood through adulthood
Michael E. Moran, M.D.
Adjunct Associate Professor of Urology
University of Florida
From Greek πολύγλωττος (literally, many-tongued) < πολύς (polus), many + γλῶττα (glōtta), tongue; compare to French polyglotte
Aristotle, Da Vinci, Descartes, Leibnitz, della Porta, Kircher, Goethe, Voltaire, Fuller
Πολυμαθής-The dictionary definition of a polymath is a very learned person, of encyclopedic knowledge. There is also the connotation of having an understanding deeper than that found in an encyclopedia, that is, an expert in many fields.
"Mr Thomas Young, of Little Queen Street, Westminster, a gentleman conversant with various branches of literature and science, and author of a paper on vision published in the Philosophical Transactions".
James Gillray’s caricature of the proceedings at the Royal Institution (National Library of Medicine)
1801 Thomas Young fitted a lens to a cornea with a surrounding wax collar to retain fluid behind the lens, neutralising it and thus showing that the cornea was not involved in accommodation.
The Rosetta Stone- 1801 Napoleon
And Young himself wrote: “It is probably best for mankind that the researches of some investigators should be conceived within a narrow compass, while others pass more rapidly through a more extensive sphere of research.”
“History is unkind to polymaths. No biographer will readily tackle a subject whose range of skills far exceeds his own, while the rest of us, with or without biographies to read have no mental ‘slot’ in which to to keep polymath’s memory fresh. So the polymath gets forgotten or, at best, squashed into a category we can recognize, in the way that Goethe is remembered as a poet, despite his claim to have been a scientist, or Hume as a philosopher, for all the six dumpy volumes of his History of England.” - Alexander Murray
9. Dr. Young. Lancet 2:255 (23 May 1829)
10. Larmor,J: Thomas Young. Nature 133:276-9,1934
11. Rowell,HS: Thomas Young and Göttingen. Nature 88:516,1912
12. Rubinowicz,A: Thomas Young and the theory of diffraction. Nature 180:160-2, 1957
13. Oldham,F: Thomas Young. Br Med J 4:150-52,1974
14. Cantor,GN: Thomas Young’s lectures at the Royal Institution. Notes and Records R Soc Lond 25(1):87-112,1970
15. Mollon,JD: The origins of the concept of interference. Phil Trans R Soc Lond 360:807-819,2002