[taken from Chapter 6 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]

DAVID FORBES (b. 1828, d. 1876),

a younger brother of the naturalist, was first sent to school at Athol Academy, Douglas, and from thence went to Brentwood in Essex, whence he passed to Edinburgh University. He left Edinburgh when only 19, and then spent some months in Dr. Perey's metallurgical laboratory in Birmingham, being under 20 when he went to Norway, where lie received the post of superintendent of the mine and metallurgical works at Esped~il. In 1848-his last year in Norway-he received the personal thanks of the king for his services in arming 400 of his miners to aid the government against a threatened revolution. After this he entered into partnership with a firm of nickel smelters in Birmingham. In 1856, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in the following year he went to America, on account of his firm, in search of the ores of nickel and cobalt. Between 1856 and 1860 he traversed the greater part of Bolivia and Peru, and embodied his observations on the minerals and rock-structure of those countries in a classical paper, which was printed in the "Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society " for 1860. Returning to South America, he traversed the mining districts of the Cordilleras, and increased the large collection of minerals he had already formed in Norway. From thence he went to the South Sea Islands for the purpose, more especially, of studying their volcanic phenomena. In 1866, he travelled in Europe and became foreign secretary to the Iron and Steel Institute. This distinguished scientist wrote no less than 58 papers on scientific subjects ; among these was one on " The Microscope in Geology," with reference to which it may be mentioned that he was one of the first to apply the microscope to the study of rocks. Igneous metamorphic phenomena occupied much of FORBES's attention, and at Espedil he experimented, on a large scale, on the action of heat on minerals and rocks. He wrote some important papers on this subject, also on chemical geology, to which lie tried hard to direct the attention of British geologists. During his travels he had amassed a large fund of geological information, of which only a part was used in his published papers. He was a member of the Geological and Ethnological Societies, having been one of the secretaries of the former since 1871. (From the Dictionary of National Biography).


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