Some Irish Science Families

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Parsons family, Birr, Co. Offaly

William Parsons, built the world’s largest reflecting telescope in Birr, Co. Offaly.

His wife Mary (Countess of Rosse) was a photographer and also pioneer in the technology of photography.

Their son Charles Parsons (1854 – 1931) developed the steam turbine (a rotating machine that converts the power of steam into electricity) which was used very widely to power ships.

William’s cousin was Mary Ward (1827 – 1869) (see above); Mary was killed when she fell under the wheels of an experimental steam car built by her cousin William and his sons. She was perhaps the world’s first victim of a vehicle crash.

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