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Hereditary Genius
, as in the previous chapter, I have confined myself to the names that are most
prominent in biographical collections, or that otherwise came most readily in my way. I
add the names of those into whose lives I also inquired, who seem to have had no
kinsmen of marked ability. They are eighteen in number, and as follow:—
Bacon, Roger; Berzelius; Blumenbach; Brahe, Tycho; Bramah; Brewster; Brown,
Robert; Copernicus; Galen; Galvani; Guericke; Hooke; Kepler; Priestley; Reaumur; Count
Rumford; Whewell; Dr. Young.
Ampere, Andre Marie (1775-1836, aet. 61); eminent man of science
mathematician, electrician, and philologist. He was entirely self-taught, for his
parents were in humble circumstances. Even in early boyhood, he read
voraciously and showed a most tenacious memory. He was endowed with a
vast vigour of brain, accompanied by a very shy and sensitive organization.
Thus, though his genius was universal, he became in after life a great oddity,
and his pupils made fun of him. He wanted perseverance in any one direction;
he was always flying off to new subjects. Arago thought that the discipline of
a public school would have had a most salutary influence on his character.
S. Jean Jacques Antoine, historian and literary man of considerable eminence and
originality. Educated by his father, who left him free to follow the bent of his
genius. He travelled much, and always with literary and scientific results. Was
Professor of Modern French History in the College of France.
Arago, Dominique Francois; mathematician and astronomer. Writer on many
scientific subjects; also a politician and strong republican. As a boy, he made
great and almost unassisted progress in mathematics. Became Academician aet.
23. He had a good deal of brusqueness of manner and of self-assertion. His
three brothers were distinguished in their different professions, as follow:—
B. Jean, driven from France by an unjust accusation; became Previous page Top Next page