Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 2.djvu/414

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Kerr
Kerr
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some friction between Keppel and the governor at the Cape [see Grey, Sir George], and he was shortly transferred to the Brazilian command. He became a vice-admiral on 11 Jan. 1864, and in December 1866 was chosen to be commander-in-chief on the China station, where he had his flag in the Rodney. On 3 July 1869 he was promoted to admiral, and returned home. In April 1870 he was awarded an admiral's good service pension, and in May 1871 was advanced to the Grand Cross of the Bath. From November 1872 to 1875 he was commander-in-chief at Devonport; on 5 Aug. 1877 he received his promotion to be admiral of the fleet; and in March 1878 he was appointed first and principal naval aide-de-camp to the queen. By a special order in council his name was retained on the active list of the navy until his death, which took place in London on 17 Jan. 1904. He was buried at Winkfield with naval honours, a memorial service being held in the Chapel Royal, St. James's.

Keppel's social reputation stood as high as his service character. He was no less remarkable for the charm of his personality than for his love of sport and exuberant vitality. With King Edward VII, especially while Prince of Wales, he was on terms of intimate friendship; and with Queen Alexandra and the whole royal family his relations were such as are rarely permitted to a subject.

A bust by Count Gleichen was presented to the United Service Club by King Edward VII in 1905. Cartoon portraits appeared in 'Vanity Fair' in 1876 and 1903.

Keppel was twice married: (1) in 1839 to Katherine Louisa (d. 5 June 1859), daughter of Gen. Sir John Crosbie, G.C.H.; (2) on 31 Oct. 1861 to Jane Elizabeth, daughter of Martin J. West and sister of Sir Algernon West. By his second wife, who died on 21 April 1895, he left issue CoHn Richard, b. 3 Dec. 1862, now a rear-admiral, and Maria Walpole, who married Capt. (now Vice-admiral) Frederick Tower Hamilton, R.N.

Keppel published his memoirs in 1899 with the title 'A Sailor's Life under Four Sovereigns,' 3 vols.

[Keppel's Sailor's Life, 1899; Memoir by Keppel's brother-in-law. Sir Algernon West, G.C.B., 1905; The Times, 18 Jan. 1904, based chiefly on Keppel's book.]

L. G. C. L.


KERR, JOHN (1824–1907), physicist, born on 17 Dec. 1824 at Ardrossan, Ayrshire, was second son of Thomas Kerr, a fish-dealer. He was educated at a village school in Skye, and proceeded to the University of Glasgow, attending classes from 1841 to 1849. From 1846 he studied under William Thomson, afterwards Lord Kelvin [q. v. Suppl. II], and on graduation in 1849 he obtained Lord Eglinton's prize as the most distinguished student in mathematics and natural philosophy. Although a divinity student, he was one of the earliest to engage in research work in the 'coalhole' in which Thomson had set up the first physical laboratory in Great Britain. After some time spent in teaching, Kerr was ordained a minister of the Free church, but did not take clerical duty. In 1857 he was appointed lecturer in mathematics to the Glasgow Free Church Training College for Teachers. This post he held for forty-four years, until his retirement in 1901. Here he set up a small laboratory, spending all his spare time in research. His name is associated with two great discoveries affecting the nature of light — the bi-refringence caused in glass and other insulators when placed in an intense electric field, and the change produced in polarised light by reflection from the polished pole of an electromagnet. The series of papers describing the first of these phenomena appeared in the 'Philosophical Magazine' from 1875 onwards; the second discovery was communicated to the British Association at its Glasgow meeting in 1876, and caused intense excitement among the physicists there. The mathematical theory of this 'Kerr effect' was first worked out by George Francis FitzGerald [q. v. Suppl. II], and more recently by Sir Joseph Larmor. Kerr's only independently published works are 'The Metric System' (1863) and 'An Elementary Treatise on Rational Mechanics' (1867). The latter of these procured him the honorary degree of LL.D. from his university. He was elected F.R.S. in 1890, and received the royal medal in 1898. He continued to publish the results of his researches in the 'Philosophical Transactions' till near his death. He was awarded in 1902 a civil list pension of l00l. a year. He died at Glasgow on 18 Aug. 1907. He married Marion, daughter of Col. Balfour of Orkney, and had three sons and four daughters.

[Proc. Roy. Soc, 82a, 1909, p. 1; The Times, 19 Aug. 1907; Nature, 3 Oct. 1907; Who's Who, 1907.]

R. S.


KERR, ROBERT (1823–1904), architect, born at Aberdeen on 17 Jan. 1823, was son of Robert Kerr by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas McGowan, yeoman,