Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/111

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101
SKETCH OF DR. ARNOTT.

ward to the Spanish embassy. In 1836 he became a member of the Senate in the newly-founded University of London in 1837, one of the physicians extraordinary to the queen, and in 1838 a member of the Royal Society, and subsequently of the Geological Society.

Dr. Arnott gave two courses of lectures at different times on the relation of natural philosophy to medicine. These were afterward embodied in his "Physics." In 1837 appeared his well-known "Essay on Warming and Ventilation," and, by the practical application of the theories contained in it, there resulted the stoves and ventilators which bear his name. For these and other inventions, including the water-bed, he obtained from the Royal Society the Rumford medal. On account of the assistance which he rendered to the practice of medicine, and to the general public health, he received, at the Paris Exposition in 1855, a gold medal, added to which by the emperor was the cross of the Legion of Honor. During his connection with the General Board of Health, he devoted much of his time to the subjects relating either directly or indirectly to hygiene. Not only here, but during his whole life, he had exercised and used his observing powers, so that each new experience added to his valuable stock of facts, which bore especially upon natural philosophy.

Many traits of his character made him a social favorite, and his interest in society at large has justly caused him to be ranked among the chief promoters of human welfare. All his actions were characterized in a remarkable degree by unselfishness. He used none of his inventions in his own interest, and refused to have them patented, in order that their usefulness might be more wide-spread. As Prof. Bain, one of the editors of his "Elements," remarks: "Throughout his life, and by his various inventions and publications, Dr. Neil Arnott manifested a purely philanthropic desire to extend to others the benefits of that knowledge which, from his boyhood upward, he had acquired by long and patient observation. His earnest wish was to make the path of learning easy to all. We have now before us a copy of 'The Elements of Physics' as it first appeared in 1827. Within five years of its publication, five large editions of the work were called for, and, although not then complete, it was as translated into several foreign languages. It is not too much to say of this and his other works that the learned and the unlearned, the student and the philosopher, have equally benefited by his labors." In addition to his general benevolence referred to above, he strove to promote the advancement of physical science by endowing scholarships in the universities and public schools. In 1869 he gave $10,000 to the University of London, and $5,000 each to the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and St. Andrews. Not having accomplished a design expressed by him of leaving $5,000 to each of the four Scotch universities, his widow has carried out his plans since his death. He died on the 2d of March, 1874.