Ferrel , William
(1817–1891) American meteorologist
Born in Fulton County, Pennsylvania, Ferrel moved with his family to farm in West Virginia in 1829. Receiving only the most rudimentary education, his early scientific knowledge was entirely self acquired. Despite this he developed an interest in mathematical physics and, after graduating from Bethany College in West Virginia in 1844, began to study the Principia of Isaac Newton and the Mécanique céleste (Celestial Mechanics) of Pierre Simon de Laplace. He earned his living as a school teacher from 1844 until 1857 when, having established his scientific reputation, he was appointed to the staff of the American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac. He worked there until 1867 when he joined the US Coast and Geodetic Survey.
In 1856 he published his most significant work, Essay on the Winds and Currents of the Oceans. He showed that all atmospheric motion, as well as ocean currents, are deflected by the Earth's rotation. He went on in 1858 to formulate his law, which states that if a mass of air is moving in any direction there is a force arising from the Earth's rotation that always deflects it to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere. The air tends to move in a circle whose radius depends upon its velocity and distance from the equator. Ferrel went on to show how this law could be used to explain storms and the pattern of winds and currents. He was in some ways anticipated by Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis whose name is much better known.
Ferrel also did fundamental work on the solar system. He was able to correct Laplace and show that the tidal action of the Sun and Moon on the Earth is slowly retarding the Earth's rotation. In 1864 he provided the first mathematical treatment of tidal friction. His other works included his three-volume Meteorological Researches (1877–82). In 1880 he invented a machine to predict tidal maxima and minima.

Scientists. . 2011.

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  • Ferrel, William — ▪ American meteorologist born Jan. 29, 1817, Fulton county, Pa., U.S. died Sept. 18, 1891, Maywood, Kan.       American meteorologist known for his description of the deflection of air currents on the rotating Earth.       Ferrel taught school… …   Universalium

  • William Ferrel — (* 29. Januar 1817 im Bedford , heute Fulton County, Pennsylvania, USA; † 18. September 1891 in Martinsburg, West Virginia) war ein US amerikanischer Meteorologe. Ferrel entwickelte Theor …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ferrel — Ferrel, William, Meteorolog, geb. 29. Jan. 1817 auf einer Farm in Virginia, gest. 18. Sept. 1891 in Maywood (Kansas), war zuerst Lehrer in Tennessee, trat 1857 in die Redaktion des »Nautical Almanac«, wurde 1867 in die Küstenvermessungsbehörde zu …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Ferrel cell — ▪ meteorology       model of the mid latitude segment of the Earth s wind circulation, proposed by William Ferrel (Ferrel, William) (1856). In the Ferrel cell, air flows poleward and eastward near the surface and equatorward and westward at… …   Universalium

  • William Ferrel — Naissance 29 janvier 1817 Pennsylvanie (États Unis) Décès 18 septembre 1891 Virginie Occidentale (États Unis) Champs Météorologie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ferrel's law — Ferrel s law, named after William Ferrel, is a natural law in physical geography and meteorology.If a body moves in any direction on the earth s surface, there is a deflecting force arising from the earth s rotation, which deflects it to the… …   Wikipedia

  • Ferrel —   [ ferəl], William, amerikanischer Meteorologe, * Fulton County (Pennsylvania) 29. 1. 1817, ✝ Maywood (Kans.) 18. 9. 1891; erforschte die physikalischen Gesetze der Luft und Meeresströmungen der Erde und den Einfluss der Erdrotation auf die… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • William Ferrel — This page is about the meteorologist; for the comedian, see Will Ferrell. William Ferrel (1817 ndash; 1891), an American meteorologist, developed theories which explained the mid latitude atmospheric circulation cell in detail, and it is after… …   Wikipedia

  • William Ferrell — Will Ferrel in London, bei der Premiere von Talladega Nights John ‚Will‘ William Ferrell (* 16. Juli 1967 in Irvine, Kalifornien) ist ein US amerikanischer Filmschauspieler …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ferrel’s law — a body moving in any direction over Earth’s surface will tend to be deflected to right in Northern Hemisphere and left in Southern Hemisphere for American meteorologist William Ferrel …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

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