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Roget, Pete Roget, Peter (1779-1869)

Peter Roget, famed as the creator of the first thesaurus, also proved persistence of vision in the human eye.

Roget was naturally gifted as a child. Born in London, he went to Edinburgh University to study mathematics and medicine after his Swiss father died young. He graduated as a doctor aged just 19. Clearly he was going places and Roget quickly began to inundate the medical establishment with new ideas and papers.

He published research on tuberculosis and laughing gas, helped to found Manchester's Royal Medical Academy, the Society for the Diffusion of Knowledge and even had time to invent the slide rule.

In 1824 he demonstrated persistent vision, proving that an image of an object is held on the retina for approximately 1/16th of second after the object actually disappears - the illusion that TV and movies rely on to produce apparent 'reality' on screen. Roget's more direct contribution to the story of telecommunications is that he introduced Mr Cooke to Mr Wheatstone - the team that were eventually to invent the five-needle telegraph system in 1837.

Roget published his first thesaurus in 1852.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

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