John Ayrton Paris
-24 December 1856) was a British physician
. He is most widely remembered as the probable inventor of the thaumatrope
, which he used to demonstrate persistence of vision
to the Royal College of Physicians
in 1824; at about this time he wrote a book entitled Philosophy in sport made science in earnest : being an attempt to implant in the young mind the first principles of natural philosophy by the aid of the popular toys and sports of youth
which extended the principle of using simple devices to give convincing demonstrations of scientific principles.
Paris was a medical researcher of some distinction, for example making one of the earliest observations of occupational causes of cancer
when, in 1822, he recognised that their exposure to arsenic
fumes might be contributing to the unusually high rate of scrotal skin cancer
among men working in copper
(his conclusions on this subject are included in a book that is also a visitor's guide to West Cornwall). He also wrote about the accidents caused by the use of explosives in mines, and gave lectures to the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall
on chemistryDenise Crook, ‘Paris, John Ayrton (bap. 1785, d. 1856)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2007 Paris, John Ayrton, M.D. (1785–1856), physician, by Norman Moore,......