Dr Samuel Brown (1817 – 1856)

This post is about Dr Samuel Brown. He was born in Haddington in 1817 and died in Edinburgh in 1856.

This film explains how I was mesmerised by the portrait of Dr Samuel Brown in the National Gallery of Scotland:

Stars have shone from omphalos on Vimeo.

Samuel Brown studied medicine but chose not to follow this as a career. Instead he chose to be: a chemist, a physicist, a poet, a writer, an artist and a philosopher.

In the early 1840s he delivered lectures on the Atomic Theory where he claimed that he could transmute Carbon into Silicon. Thereafter his life changed. This film tells the story:

The catalytic action of his mere presence from omphalos on Vimeo.

A century before C.P Snow and the “two culture debate”, Dr Samuel Brown demonstrated that the cultures of science and arts do indeed complement one another. In this film we hear the words of Dr Samuel Brown, a scientist interested in poetry; and Edwin Morgan, a poet interested in science:

Equally at home from omphalos on Vimeo.

Dr Samuel Brown’s father, also Samuel, was an Ironmonger in Haddington. Samuel Brown Senior was the pioneer of public libraries. This film will hopefully illuminate:

“Illumination of the world” from omphalos on Vimeo.

The National Gallery portrait of Dr Samuel Brown was painted by his friend, David Scott, RSA. David Scott grew up in the Edinburgh House known as Hermits and Termits:

Hermits and Termits from omphalos on Vimeo.

                     Stars have shone
           and gradually increasing in brilliancy
                 they have promised to equal 
                 the brightest of astral orbs
                       when suddenly
                they have disappeared forever.

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