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Great Astronomers: Isaac Newton

by Robert Stawell Ball

Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1726) was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian who has been considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist...

Great Astronomers: Galileo Galilei

by Robert Stawell Ball

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and...

Great Astronomers: Nicolaus Copernicus

by Robert Stawell Ball

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was a mathematician and astronomer who formulated a comprehensive heliocentric model which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center of the universe, contrary to the...

Great Astronomers:  Johannes Kepler

by Robert Stawell Ball

German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) derived his mathematical laws of planetary motion from astronomical data meticulously collected by Tycho Brahe, who, as he was dying, beseeched young Kepler to use...

Great Astronomers:  Pierre-Simon Laplace

by Robert Stawell Ball

Pierre-Simon, Marquis de Laplace (1749-1827), was a French mathematician and astronomer, sometimes referred to as the French Newton. His work was pivotal to the mathematical development of astronomy, physics,...

Great Astronomers:  Edmond Halley

by Robert Stawell Ball

Edmond Halley,(1656–1742) was an English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist who is best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley's Comet. He was the second Astronomer...

Great Astronomers: Tycho Brahe

by Robert Stawell Ball

This is the chapter on 16th century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe from Sir Robert S. Ball's Great Astronomers, second edition, which begins: "The most picturesque figure in the history of astronomy ... Tycho...

Great Astronomers:  William Herschel

by Robert Stawell Ball

Sir Frederick William Herschel, (Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel) (1738–1822) was a German-born British astronomer, telescope maker, and composer. He became famous for the first discovery of a planet not visible...

Great Astronomers:  William Rowan Hamilton

by Robert Stawell Ball

Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1805–1865) was an Irish physicist, astronomer, and mathematician who made important contributions to mechanics, optics, and algebra. As a teenager, he mastered parts of Newton's...

Great Astronomers:  John Flamsteed

by Robert Stawell Ball

John Flamsteed (1646-1719) was an English astronomer, a contemporary of Isaac Newton, and the first Astronomer Royal in charge of the newly built observatory at Greenwich, England (1676). Although he made no...

Great Astronomers:  William Parsons (3rd Earl of Rosse)

by Robert Stawell Ball

William Parsons, the 3rd Earl of Rosse, (1800–1867) was an Anglo-Irish astronomer who made several large telescopes. His 72-inch telescope, the "Leviathan", built in 1845, was the world's largest telescope...

Great Astronomers:  James Bradley

by Robert Stawell Ball

James Bradley (1693–1762) was the English astronomer who served as Astronomer Royal from 1742, succeeding Edmund Halley. He is best known for two fundamental discoveries in astronomy, the aberration of light...

Great Astronomers: John Pond

by Agnes Mary Clerke

John Pond (1767–1836) was appointed as 6th Astronomer Royal in February 1811, succeeding Dr. Nevil Maskelyne. Of a mild and unassuming character, Pond neither sought nor attained a popular reputation. His...