Smithson, James

Smithson, James

▪ British scientist
born 1765, Paris, France
died June 27, 1829, Genoa [Italy]

      English scientist who provided funds for the founding of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

      The natural son of Hugh Smithson Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland, and Elizabeth Keate Macie, a lineal descendant of Henry VII, Smithson was educated at the University of Oxford. Said to have been the best chemist and mineralogist in his class, he eventually published 27 scientific papers. On the recommendation of Henry Cavendish and others, he was admitted to the Royal Society at the age of 22. The mineral smithsonite (carbonate of zinc) was named for him.

      Smithson, who never married, spent much of his life in Europe, where he came to know the leading scientists. His substantial fortune, inherited chiefly through his mother's family, he left to a nephew, Henry James Hungerford, who died without issue. Under terms of Smithson's will, the whole estate went “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”

      His reasons for making his bequest to the United States seem related to his resentment over the circumstances of his illegitimate birth. He had once written, “My name shall live in the memory of man when the titles of the Northumberlands and Percys are extinct and forgotten.” In 1904 Smithson's remains were brought to the United States under an escort including Alexander Graham Bell and were interred in the original Smithsonian building.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Smithson,James — Smith·son (smĭthʹsən), James. 1765 1829. British chemist, mineralogist, and philanthropist. His gift to the United States helped establish (1846) the Smithsonian Institution. * * * …   Universalium

  • James Smithson — Un retrato de 1816 de Smithson por Henri Joseph Johns, ahora en la National Portrait Gallery del Instituto Smithsoniano Nacimiento 1764 …   Wikipedia Español

  • James Smithson — James Smithson. James Smithson (* 1765 in Frankreich als James Lewis Macie; † 27. Juni 1829 in Genua) war ein britischer Mineraloge und Chemiker. Er wurde bekannt wegen seiner Hinterlassenschaft für die USA, die zur Finanzierung der …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Smithson — Smithson, James, Begründer der Smithsonian Institution, geb. 1765 in London als natürlicher Sohn von Sir Hugh Smithson, Herzog von Northumberland, und Elizabeth Macie, der Nichte des Herzogs von Somerset, gest. 27. Juni 1829 in Genua, von wo… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • James Smithson — Infobox Scientist name = James Smithson box width = 26em image width = caption = An 1816 portrait of Smithson by Henri Joseph Johns, now in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution birth date = 1765 birth place = Paris, France …   Wikipedia

  • Smithson — is a common English and American surname that may refer to:*Alison and Peter Smithson, British architects *Forrest Smithson, American athlete *Gerald Smithson, English cricketer *Harriet Smithson, actor and wife of Hector Berlioz *Henrietta… …   Wikipedia

  • Smithson — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Alison Smithson (1928–1993), britische Architektin Forrest Smithson (1881–1962), US amerikanischer Leichtathlet James Smithson (1765–1829), britischer Mineraloge und Chemiker Jerred Smithson (* 1979),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • James Smithson — est un chimiste anglais et homme de science britannique, né en 1770 et mort en 1829. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Travaux de chimiste 3 Honneurs 4 Liens externes …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Smithson — (spr. Smishs n), James Lewis Macie, natürlicher Sohn des Herzogs Hugh von Northumberland u. der Elizabeth von Hungerford von Audley, geb. in London, wurde in Oxford erzogen, graduirte dort 1786 u. wurde 1787 Mitglied der Royal Society. Nachdem er …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Smithson —   [ smɪθsn],    1) James, eigentlich J. Lewis (Louis) Macie [ meɪsi], britischer Chemiker und Mineraloge, * in Frankreich 1765, ✝ Genua 27. 6. 1829; Privatgelehrter; untersuchte v. a. Farbstoffe sowie Blei und Zinkminerale; stiftete die… …   Universal-Lexikon

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