Symmetries of patterns and lights

Close up photo of a kaleidoscope

by Luke Mitchell

Many of us in physics will recognise the name Brewster; especially if you have learned about optics. Sir David Brewster was born in Scotland on 11th December 1781. He was a champion for physics and optics in the 18th century, all self-taught. He was involved in the development of understanding of the laws of light polarisation, polarisation induced by heat and pressure, metallic reflection, biaxial crystals and many more natural light phenomena.  He studied Divinity at the University of Edinburgh.  He later became Principal of the University in 1859 at the age of 78 until his death in 1868. There is statue of him outside the School of Chemistry.

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