Young, Thomas (1773-1829)
Thomas Young (1773-1829) was an English scientist, physician and Egyptologist who conducted the double slit experiment in 1803.
In this experiment light was said to behave like a wave due to an observable interference pattern.
This suggested that light is a type of energy, as opposed to a collection of particles.
In 1905 the view of light as energy was confounded by the Hungarian-German Nazi Philipp Lenard, whose own experiments demonstrated that light also behaves like a particle–that is, a unit of matter.
Up to this point in Western intellectual history, a history which Richard Nisbett¹ and others say is almost obsessively concerned with rational categories, matter and energy were thought to be entirely different because, according to previously available observational frameworks, matter behaved differently than energy.
Since the discovery of the apparent duality of light as matter and energy, however, an entirely new series of experiments and theories have arisen about the enigmatic “stuff” of the universe.
This search includes what physicists have called the “God Particle.” If its existence is confirmed, this would apparently resolve some current inconsistencies in theoretical physics.
As an Egyptologist, Young also helped to decipher the Rosetta Stone.
¹ Richard E. Nisbett, The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently… and Why. New York: The Free Press, 2003.