Forbes, George, 1849-1936, engineer and astronomer

Identity area

Type of entity

Person

Authorized form of name

Forbes, George, 1849-1936, engineer and astronomer

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1849-1936

History

George Forbes was born in Edinburgh in 1849, the younger son of James David Forbes (later Principal of St Andrews University) and his wife, Alicia. Forbes was educated at Edinburgh Academy, and St Andrews and Cambridge universities, and graduated BA in 1871. From 1872 to 1880 he was Professor of Natural Philosophy at Anderson's University, where he collaborated with James Young on research into the velocity of light. He took a keen interest in astronomy, and led the British expedition to Hawaii in 1874 to observe the transit of Venus, returning to Scotland via Beijing and St Petersburg. Through contacts made during this journey, Forbes returned as a war correspondent with the Russian Army during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, reporting for 'The Times'. In the 1880s and 1890s, Forbes worked extensively on electrical power engineering and advocated the use of carbon brushes in electric motors rather than the wire or gauze which were then employed. From 1891 to 1895 Forbes was Consulting Engineer on the Niagara Falls hydroelectric scheme and advised on other schemes in India, South Africa, New Zealand and Upper Egypt. In the early 20th century Forbes became interested in military engineering and developed rangefinders and methods of signalling for submarines. He also returned to his early love of astronomy and delivered the David Elder Lectures on Astronomy at the Royal Technical College, Glasgow, the successor to Anderson's University. Forbes published extensively, received many honours and was a member of many distinguished learned societies worldwide. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1887. In later life he lived modestly in his 'Shed' at Pitlochry, overlooking the hydroelectric dam at Loch Faskally.

Places

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Related entity

Forbes, James David, 1809-1868, natural philosopher (1809-1868)

Identifier of the related entity

P0209

Category of the relationship

family

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

George Forbes was the son of James Forbes.

Related entity

Young, James, 1811-1883, chemist (1811-1883)

Identifier of the related entity

P0032

Category of the relationship

associative

Dates of the relationship

1870s

Description of relationship

Forbes collaborated with Young on research into the velocity of light.

Related entity

Anderson's College, Glasgow (1796-1887)

Identifier of the related entity

C0046

Category of the relationship

associative

Dates of the relationship

1872-1880

Description of relationship

Forbes was Professor of Natural Philosophy at Anderson's College.

Control area

Authority record identifier

P0005

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2003); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Status

Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created by Victoria Peters, December 2009.

Language(s)

Script(s)

Sources

Obituaries in:

Obituary notices of Fellows of the Royal Society 1932-1938, Vol. 2, 1936, pp.283-286.

Proceedings of the Physical Society, Vol. 49, 1937, pp.698-700.

Nature, Vol. 138, pp.830-831.

Journal of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, vol. 79, July-December 1936, p.693.

Maintenance notes