Smithson, James (1765–1829)

James Smithson was a British chemist and mineralogist; the mineral smithsonite was named after him. Angered at the Royal Society's rejection of a paper by him in 1826, Smithson left £105,000 to found an institution, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., for the "increase and diffusion of knowledge among men." Today, it is one of the leading US scientific research and education centers.