Sir David Brewster, a Scottish physicist, born at Jedburgh, Dec. 11,1781, died at Allerly, near Melrose, Feb. 10, 1868. He was educated at the university of Edinburgh, where his attention was early turned to natural science. In 1807 he received the degree of LL. D. from the university of Aberdeen for his acquirements in this department; and in the following year he projected "The Edinburgh Cyclopaedia," of which he continued to be the editor until its completion in 1830. In the mean time he continued those special researches into the composition and influence of light which made him famous. For his papers for the royal society of London upon the polarization of light he received several medals, and in 1816 one of the prizes of the French institute for the two most important discoveries in physical science made during the two preceding years. In 1819, in conjunction with Prof. Jameson, he commenced the " Edinburgh Philosophical Journal," which he afterward conducted alone for 16 years under the title of the "Edinburgh Journal of Science." He was also for many years one of the editors of the " London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Journal." From 1827 to 1833 he was engaged in investigating the best means of illuminating lighthouses.

In 1830 he received the principal medal of the royal society of London for further discoveries in the polarization of light, and was knighted in the following year. He was chosen principal of St. Leonard's college, Aberdeen, in 1841, and in 1857 he was president of the British association for the advancement of science, of which he was one of the founders. In 1859 he was chosen one of the eight foreign associates of the institute of France, and principal and vice chancellor of the university of Edinburgh. For many years he contributed brilliant articles on scientific subjects to the "North British Review " and the " Popular Science Magazine." He made many improvements in the construction of the microscope and telescope, invented the kaleidoscope, brought the stereoscope into scientific and artistic use, introduced the Bude light, and demonstrated the utility of dioptric lenses and zones in lighthouse illumination. Sir David Brewster did more than any other man of his day to popularize the study of natural science.

Besides his numerous contributions to periodicals and cyclopaadias, and to the transactions of learned societies, he wrote "Treatise on Burning Instruments" (1812); "Life and Letters of Euler" (1823); "New System of Illumination for Lighthouses " (1827); "Treatise on Optics," "Letters on Natural Magic," and "Life of Sir Isaac Newton "(1831); "Martyrs of Science" (1841); "More Worlds than One " (1854); and " Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton " (1855).