1792 - became a pupil of Dr Garnett of Knaresborough. 1794 - enrolled as a medical student at Edinburgh University. 1799 - took his MD. Was appointed professor of natural philosophy at the Anderson's Institution, Glasgow. A desire to provide education for the working classes led to him offering free extra-curricular lectures on popular science. 1807 - became a fellow of the Medical Society of London. 1808 - was admitted as licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, admitted as a member of the Medical and Chirurgical Society and elected an honorary member of Guy's Hospital Physical Society. 1823 - served as the first president of the Meteorological Society of London. Inaugurated the London Mechanics' Institution (renamed Birkbeck College in 1907). 1832 - joined the Literary Association of the Friends of Poland.