An Early Bath

William Herschel was a scientist (infrared radiation), linguist, musician (violin, cello, organ, oboe, harpsicord ), composer (24 symphonies, numerous concertos) and all-round technical expert. Feeling a little unfocused, he developed an interest in lenses, moved to Bath and decided to build a new type of reflecting telescope in his back garden (in the process becoming the best  mirror polisher on the planet).

In the spring on 1781 he upstaged himself and totally discovered a brand-new planet (not brand-new, of course, but you know what I mean). For this outstanding achievement, the King of England rewarded Herr Herschel with … a house in Slough (John Lennon said it best).

Herschel went on to discover several moons (which another William got to name) and invent the popular video game “Asteroids”.

[Tim Shreeve]



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