Airy, Sir George Biddell

Airy, Sir George Biddell

▪ British astronomer
born July 27, 1801, Alnwick, Northumberland, Eng.
died Jan. 2, 1892, Greenwich, London

      English scientist who was astronomer royal from 1835 to 1881.

      Airy graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1823. He became Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge in 1826 and Plumian professor of astronomy and director of the Cambridge observatory in 1828. In 1835 he was appointed the seventh astronomer royal—i.e., director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, a post he would hold for more than 45 years.

      Airy completely reorganized the Greenwich observatory, installing new apparatus and rescuing thousands of lunar observations from oblivion. Most importantly, he modernized the observatory's system for making extremely precise observations of stellar positions. He wielded great power within the British scientific community, and he opposed government support of pure science, arguing that original research was best left to private individuals and institutions. Modern scholars absolve him of the charge that his hesitation to publicize the calculations of John C. Adams in 1845 somewhat delayed the discovery of Neptune.

      Airy in 1827 made the first successful attempt to correct astigmatism in the human eye (his own) by use of a cylindrical eyeglass lens. He also contributed to the study of interference fringes, and the Airy disk, the central spot of light in the diffraction pattern of a point light source, is named for him. In 1854 he measured gravity by swinging the same pendulum at the top and bottom of a deep mine and thus computed the mean density of the Earth. Airy was also the first to propose (c. 1855) the theory that mountain ranges must have root structures of lower density, proportional to their height, in order to maintain isostatic equilibrium. He was knighted in 1872.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Поможем написать реферат

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Airy , Sir George Biddell — (1801–1892) British astronomer Airy, the son of a tax collector, was born in Alnwick in the north east of England. He attended school in Colchester before going to Cambridge University in 1819. He met with early success, producing a mathematical… …   Scientists

  • Airy, sir George Biddell — ► (1801 92) Astrónomo británico. Determinó, entre otras cosas, la longitud por medio del telégrafo eléctrico y la fecha de varios eclipses …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • George Biddell Airy — Sir George Biddell Airy (* 27. Juli 1801 in Alnwick, Northumberland; † 2. Januar 1892 in Greenwich) war ein englischer Mathematiker und Astronom. Er leistete bedeutende Beiträge zur Himmelsmechanik …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George Biddell Airy — Infobox Scientist box width = 300px name = Sir George Biddell Airy, FRS image width = 240px birth date = birth date|1801|07|27 birth place = Alnwick, Northumberland, England death date = death date and age|1892|01|02|1801|07|27 death place =… …   Wikipedia

  • George Biddell Airy — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Airy. George Biddell Airy Naissance 27 juillet 1801 Alnwick, N …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Airy — Airy, sir George Biddell …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • AIRY (G. B.) — AIRY sir GEORGE BIDDELL (1801 1892) Fils aîné de William Airy, il entre, à l’âge de dix ans, au Byatt Walker’s School (Colchester), où il se fait remarquer pour son habileté manuelle. Entré au Trinity College (Cambridge, G. B.) en 1819, il en… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • George Airy — George Biddell Airy Pour les articles homonymes, voir Airy. George Biddell Airy Naissance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Airy — may refer to:*Sir George Biddell Airy, British astronomer who is the eponym of craters located on the Moon and Mars * Airy (lunar crater) * Airy (crater on Mars), the smaller crater Airy 0 within Airy defines the prime meridian of the planet *… …   Wikipedia

  • Airy-0 — est un cratère d impact de Mars qui définit la position du premier méridien sur cette planète. Il est situé en bordure orientale du plateau de Meridiani Planum dans la partie méridionale d Arabia Terra, par …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”