- Robert Hunt (scientist)
Robert Hunt (
September 6, 1807– October 17, 1887), a scientist and antiquarian, was born at Devonport, Plymouth, in the United Kingdom.
Hunt's father, a
naval officer, drowned while Robert was a youth. Robert began to study in Londonfor the medical profession, but ill-health caused him to return to settle in Cornwall. In 1829, he published "The Mount’s Bay; a descriptive poem ... and other pieces" ["The Mount’s Bay; a descriptive poem ... and other pieces" Penzance : J. Downing & T. Matthews, 1829, 90 Octavo pages.] but received little critical or financial success ODNBarticle by Alan Pearson, "Hunt, Robert (1807–1887)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/14203] accessed 23 Dec 2006] .
In 1840 Hunt became secretary to the
Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Societyat Falmouth. Here he was brought into contact with Robert Were Fox, and carried on some physical and chemical investigations with him.
Hunt took up
photographywith great zeal, following Daguerre's discovery, developed the actinographand introducing business processes. His "Manual of Photography" (1841, ed. 5, 1857) was the first English treatise on the subject [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=E3ICAAAAYAAJ&dq=%22robert+hunt%22+photography&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=rbv4tHOqK1&sig=2oEg7h1VeqO2OL0Wh006xOvhtfo#PPP2,M1 Manual of Photography: reproduced online in Googlebooks] .] . Hunt also experimented generally on the action of light, and published "Researches on Light" (1844).
In 1845 he accepted the invitation of Sir Henry de la Beche to become keeper of mining records at the Museum of Economic (afterwards Practical) Geology, and when the school of mines was established in 1851 he lectured for two years on
mechanical science, and afterwards for a short time on experimental physics.
He was elected a Fellow of the
Royal Statistical Societyin 1855. [Alan Pearson, ‘Hunt, Robert (1807–1887)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/14203 accessed 23 Nov 2007] ]
In 1858 he founded, with the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society,
The Miners Association.
His principal work was the collection and editing of the "Mineral Statistics of the United Kingdom" [ [http://www.projects.ex.ac.uk/mhn/MS/intro.html Introduction to "Mineral Statistics" by the Mining History Network] ] , and this he continued to the date of his retirement (1883), when the mining record office was transferred to the
He was elected fellow of the
Royal Societyin 1854. In 1884 he published a large volume on "British Mining" in which the subject was dealt with very fully from an historical as well as a practical point of view. He also edited the fifth and some later editions of Ure's "Dictionary of Arts, Mines and Manufactures". He died in London on October 17, 1887. A mineralogical museum at RedruthMining School was established in his memory, this closed in 1950 and the minerals were transferred to the School of Metalliferous Miningnow the Camborne School of Mines.
He also collected and wrote "Popular Romances of the West of England" (1865) [ [http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/prwe/ "Popular Romances of the West of England" full text online of the third edition (1903)] ] , which included a record of myths and legends of old Cornwall, and proved so popular that it went through a number of editions.
* [http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/collections-library/collections-management/collections-navigator/transform.jsp?rec=/ead-recs/nhm/uls-133412.xml Photographic and manuscript collection of Robert Hunt at the Natural History Museum]
* [http://camborne-old-cornwall-society.cornovia.org.uk/hist_accs/raspe01.html Rodolph Eric Raspe (Author of "The Travels of Baron Munchausen"), by Robert Hunt, 1885]
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