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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Henry, Science Administrator

Joseph Henry (1797–1878) was the most noted scientist in the United States when he was selected to serve as the first Secretary or chief executive officer of the new Smithsonian Institution in 1846. This section of the site will explore his role as a leader in developing support for American science in the second half of the 19th century.