Anderson, John

SUBJECT AREA: Weapons and armour
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b. 1726 Roseneath, Dumbartonshire, Scotland
d. 13 January 1796
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Scottish natural philosopher.
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Born in Roseneath manse, son of the minister, he was educated after his father's death by an aunt, a Mrs Turner, to whom he later paid back the cost, and was later an officer in the corps that was raised to resist the rebellion of 1745. He studied at Glasgow, where in 1756 he became Professor of Oriental Languages and, in 1760, Professor of Natural Philosophy; he is notable for allowing artisans to attend his lectures in their working clothes. He planned the fortifications set up to defend Greenock in 1759, and was sympathetic with the French Revolution. He invented a cannon in which the recoil was counteracted by the condensation of air in the carriage. After unsuccessfully trying to interest the Government in this gun, he went to Paris in 1791 and offered it to the National Convention. While there he invented a means of smuggling French newspapers into Germany by the use of small balloons. He lost in a lawsuit with the other professors. In 1786 he published Institutes of Physics, which ran to five editions in ten years, and in 1800 he wrote on Roman antiquities. Upon his death he left all his library and apparatus to an educational institute, which was named after him but has now become the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.
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Bibliography
1786, Institutes of Physics.
Further Reading
Glasgow Mechanics' Magazine.
IMcN

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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