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William Grylls Adams

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William Grylls Adams (1836-1915)

President of the Physical Society [1]


1915 Obituary [2]

WILLIAM GRYLLS ADAMS, a Past President, died at Broadstone, Dorset, on the 10th April, 1915, aged 79.

He was born at Laneast, Cornwall, on the 16th February, 1836, and was educated in a private school at Birkenhead and at St. John's College, Cambridge, being subsequently elected a Fellow of the College.

In 1865 he was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy at King's College, London, in succession to Clerk Maxwell, and held that position until 1906 when he was elected Emeritus Professor.

In 1872 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and from time to time contributed important papers to its proceedings, such papers dealing more particularly with light and with magnetism. He was one of the founders of the Physical Society of London in 1875, and became President of that society in 1879.

In 1880 he was President of Section A of the British Association and took for the subject of his Address "Recent Progress in Physics."

In 1881 he was a Member of the International Congress of Electricians held at Paris, and in the same year he delivered a series of Cantor lectures before the Society of Arts, entitled "The Scientific Principles involved in Electric Lighting."

He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1872, served as a Member of Council from 1876 to 1880, as Vice-President from 1881 to 1883, and became President in 1884. In addition to his Presidential Address, which dealt with the growth of electrical science and was published in Volume 13 of the Journal, he also contributed papers on "Latimer Clark's Method of Measuring Differences of Electric Potential," and "The Alternate-current Machine as a Motor."


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