John Robison (1739-1805) was a Scottish physicist, inventor and academic. In 1766 he succeeded Joseph Black as Professor of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow. In 1770 he travelled to Saint Petersburg where he taught mathematics to the cadets at the Naval Academy. Robison returned to Scotland in 1773 and took up the post of Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. He lectured on mechanics, hydrostatics, astronomy, optics, electricity and magnetism. In 1783 he became General Secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and in 1797 his articles for the Encyclopaedia Britannica gave a good account of the scientific, mathematical and technological knowledge of the day. Robison invented the siren and also worked with James Watt on an early steam car. Following the French Revolution, he became disenchanted with elements of the Enlightenment. He became an enthusiastic conspiracy theorist, publishing Proofs of a Conspiracy in 1797, alleging that the Illuminati had infiltrated Continental Freemasonry, leading to the excesses of the French Revolution.