William Parsons

Life
1800-1867 [3rd Earl of Rosse]; constructed largest telescope at Birr Castle; b. York; ed. TCD, and Magdalene College, Oxford, BA 1822; MP King’s Co., 1831-34 [var. 1823-34 ODNB], resigning to pursue his scientific interests; built his own telescope, the greatest of the day, using an alloy of his own devising for the speculum at cost of 20,000; medal from Royal Society, 1851; honoured by Imperial Academy, St. Petersburg, 1853; Chancellor of Dublin University (TCD), 1862; succeeded as Earl of Rosse, 1841; joined House of Lords, 1845; improving landlord, gave relief during famine of 1845-47; d. 31 Oct., Monkstown, Co. Dublin; his speculum is now in the Science Museum, London; his wife, Mary, Countess of Rosse, was a pioneer photographer; succeeded by Laurence, who continued his research while a younger son Charles produced the first steam turbine, launched at Spithead in a successful attempt to attract govt. funding. ODNB DIB

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Works
C. Parsons, ed., The Scientific Papers of William Parsons, Third Earl of Rosse (Bradford & London: Lund, Humpries 1926).

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