Airy , Sir George Biddell


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 textbook in 1826 and numerous papers on optics. He became Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge in 1826 and two years later was made Plumian Professor of Astronomy and director of the Cambridge Observatory. In 1835 he was appointed Astronomer Royal, a post he held for 46 years.
Airy was a very energetic, innovative, and successful Astronomer Royal. He re-equipped the observatory, installing an altazimuth for lunar observation in 1847, a new transit circle and zenith tube in 1851, and a 13-inch (33-cm) equatorial telescope in 1859. He created a magnetic and meteorological department in 1838, began spectroscopic investigations in 1868, and started keeping a daily record of sunspots with the Kew Observatory heliograph in 1873. In optics he investigated the use of cylindrical lenses to correct astigmatism (Airy was astigmatic) and examined the disklike image in the diffraction pattern of a point source of light (in an optical device with a central aperture) now called the Airy disk. Also named for him is his hypothesis of isostasy: the theory that mountain ranges must have root structures of lower density, proportional to their height, in order to maintain isostatic equilibrium.
Despite his many successes he is now mainly, and unfairly, remembered for his lapses. When John Adams came to him in September, 1845, with news of the position of a new planet, Airy unwisely ignored him, leaving it to others to win fame as the discoverers of Neptune. He also dismissed Michael Faraday's new field theory.

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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… …   Universalium

  • 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”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.