Alexander Wilson was a Scottish astronomer and meteorologist and was one of the founding members of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He lived from 1714 - 1719 and made numerous contributions to astronomy and meteorology. Dr. Wilson was the first scientist to use kites as a scientific tool.
In 1749, while a professor at the University of Glasgow, he attached thermometers to a string of kites and measured the air temperatures at different altitudes. He managed to record temperatures as high as 3000 feet. He was assisted in this endeavor by a student named Thomas Melville. The thermometers were attached to the kite with a fuse. When the fuse burned out, the thermometer was released and parachuted back to earth using paper brushes. The temperature at various altitudes was successfully recorded using this method.
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