Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Atwood was born in the early part of the year 1746. He entered Westminster school, and in 1759 was elected to a scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge. He graduated in 1769, with the rank of third wrangler and first Smith's prizeman. Subsequently he became a fellow and a tutor of the college, and in 1776 was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London. In the year is 1784 he left Cambridge, and soon afterwards received from William Pitt the office of a patent searcher of the customs, which required but little attendance, and enabled him to devote a considerable portion of his time to his special studies.
Atwood's published works, exclusive of papers contributed to the Philosophical Transactions, for one of which he obtained the Copley Medal, are as follows: Analysis of a Course of Lectures on the Principles of Natural Philosophy (1784), and Treatise on the Rectilinear Motion and Rotation of Bodies (1784), which gives some interesting experiments, and describes the machine, since called Atwood machine by his name, for verifying experimentally the laws of simple acceleration of motion.
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