Scientist of the Day - Peter Mark Roget
Peter Mark Roget, an English physician and wordsmith, was born Jan. 18, 1779. Well known today for his Thesaurus, first published in 1852 (see second image above), Roget was also a professor of physiology at the Royal Institution in London, and a firm believer in natural theology. So when he heard that 1000 pounds had been made available by the estate of the Earl of Bridgewater to each of 8 writers who would show how some aspect of the natural world demonstrated the “power, wisdom and goodness of God” (a good working definition of natural theology), he volunteered for the job (and the 1000 pounds). His Animal and Vegetable Physiology Considered with Reference to Natural Theology was published in 2 volumes in 1834 (third image). It is usually considered the fifth of the eight Bridgewater treatises, as they are collectively called. We have all eight treatises (in 13 volumes) in the History of Science Collection, all first editions. Last year, when we honored another Bridgewater author in this space, we posed all 13 volumes for a group portrait in our reading room, which you can see here, in the second rotating photo. Roget’s two volumes, bound in tan pebbled calf, are right in the center.
Dr. William B. Ashworth, Jr., Consultant for the History of Science, Linda Hall Library and Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Missouri-Kansas City. Comments or corrections are welcome; please direct to email@example.com.