John Tyndall Biography

John Tyndall was an Irish physicist. This biography of John Tyndall profiles his childhood, life, academic career, achievements and timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: August 2, 1820

Nationality: British, Irish

Famous: Physicists British Men

Died At Age: 73

Sun Sign: Leo

Born Country: Ireland

Born in: Leighlinbridge, County Carlow, Ireland

Famous as: Physicist


Spouse/Ex-: Louisa Hamilton

father: John Tyndall

mother: Sarah Tyndall

Died on: December 4, 1893

place of death: Haslemere

Cause of Death: Drug Overdose

More Facts

education: University of Marburg

awards: Royal Medal (1853)
Rumford Medal (1864)

Continue Reading Below

John Tyndall was an Ireland born physicist and one of the most important scientists in the Victorian era in the United Kingdom. He was considered among the best experimental scientists of his era due to his rigour for scientific experiments as well as a sound knowledge of the apparatus that were used. John Tyndall was initially educated in his native Ireland and in fact even started working as a teenager but after he took up the job of a teacher of mathematics at a boarding school in Hampshire he decided to go to Germany for further education. In Germany he learnt the sciences and different processes involved in successful experiments from the leading scientists of the time that provided him a sound footing. Tyndall is credited with close to 150 different papers published over a period of 3 decades. In addition to that he wrote a number of text books that not only popularized the natural sciences among people but also helped students in getting a better understanding of the different scientific phenomena. Tyndall conducted extensive studies on the earth’s atmosphere, glacial flows, ozone and several other things that certainly mark him out as one of the busiest scientists of his time.

Recommended Lists:

Recommended Lists:

Childhood & Early Life
  • Upon his return to England, John Tyndall was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1851 and the following year he was appointed as the Professor of Natural Philosophy or Physics by the Royal Institute in London. Tyndall came into contact with the brilliant scientist Michael Faraday at the institute and it proved to be a very fruitful friendship.
  • Tyndall was initially involved in the study of the earth’s atmosphere and specifically worked on how much radiant heat the various gases in the earth’s atmosphere can absorb. It was in 1859 that he successfully worked out the absorptive capabilities of different gases. He also became the first person to prove the green house effect theory and is credited with the Tyndall Effect which is the process of showing particles in the air by bathing it in intense light.
  • In around 1864, John Tyndall also devised a system by way of which the percentage of carbon dioxide in an isolated sample of human breath could be measured and his system has been in use in modern medical science as anaesthetic experts use it to check on the condition of patients who are under the effects of anaesthesia. In the same year he deduced that Ozone is nothing but oxygen in clusters.
  • Tyndall worked on a variety of research endeavours for more than 30 years starting from 1850 and in total he published a total of 147 papers that dealt with subjects starting from the earth’s atmosphere to how the sun’s rays going through atmospheric molecules makes the sky appear blue.
  • In 1856, Tyndall spent some time in the Alps to study the movement of glaciers and glacial flow. In the process, he also became a mountaineer. Tyndall also made plenty of efforts in order to make the sciences more popular among the general public and delivered public lectures. He also wrote plenty of books on elementary science. He retired at the age of 66.
Recommended Lists:

Recommended Lists:

Major Works
  • Other than the relentless research that he conducted over 3 decades as an academic, he was responsible for making the natural sciences popular among the general public. However, his most important work was on the studies of the earth’s atmosphere that provided the basis for future research on the subject.
Awards & Achievements
  • In 1853, John Tyndall was awarded the Royal Medal.
  • In 1864, the Royal Society awarded him the Rumford Medal.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • John Tyndall married Louisa Hamilton in the year 1876, when he was 55 years old. The couple had no children.
  • John Tyndall died at the age of 73 on 4 December, 1893 due to an unintended overdoes of cholera hydrate; a medicine he used to take to cure his insomnia.

See the events in life of John Tyndall in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- John Tyndall Biography
- Editors,
John Tyndall

People Also Viewed

John Tyndall
(British, Irish)
Robert Boyle
(British, Irish)
Ernest Walton

Heinrich Hertz
Richard Feynman
Murray Gell-Mann