The Student Years
A Student of Science
Smithson received a Master of Arts from Pembroke College,
Oxford, in 1786. Noted scientist and fellow student Sir Davies
Gilbert described Smithson as the best chemist and mineralogist
of his year.
Smithson was called by his mother's name, Macie, until her death
in 1800, when he adopted his father's name. In this register he
is listed as "Jacobus Ludovicus Macie e Col[lege] Pem[broke]"
("James Lewis Macie of Pem[broke] Col[lege]" in Latin).
In one of the few descriptions we have of Smithson, French geologist
Barthélemy Faujas de Saint Fond described him as a diligent
young student, dedicated to scientific research, who even risked
drowning to gather geological observations on a tour of the Hebrides Islands.
William I. Thornton and Italian Count Paolo Andreani accompanied
Smithson and Faujas de Saint Fond on the tour. This image shows
three of the group studying "Ancient Monuments upon the Shore
between Kirkaldy and Kinghorn" in Scotland.
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