Joseph Henry A Life in Science

Learn about the scientific research of Joseph Henry (1797–1878), first Smithsonian Secretary and renowned physicist, and how he helped set the Institution on its course.

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Joseph Henry Gallery

Joseph Henry (1797–1878) was born near Albany, New York. While largely self-educated, he attended the Albany Academy and later taught there, as well as at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). A physicist and natural philosopher, Henry was noted for his research into electromagnetism and pioneering work in data collection and analysis. In 1846, he was appointed the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and served until his death.