Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 549-550


Delisle, Joseph-Nicolas


BornParis, France, 4 April 1688

DiedParis, France, 11 September 1768

Joseph-Nicolas Delisle was a teacher and observational astronomer noted for his work on comet prediction and transits. Delisle was the son of Claude Delisle, a historian, and Nicole-Charlotte Millet de la Croyère. Educated at the Collège Mazarin, he developed an early interest in astronomy. Joining the Académie royale des sciences formally in 1714 (as an associéto Giacomo Maraldi), Delisle was eventually appointed to the chair of mathematics at the Collège royal in 1718. He married about 1725, but had no children.

Delisle’s regular observations with his own equipment began in 1721; in the same year, he received an invitation from Peter the Great to found an observatory in Russia. From 1725 to 1747 Delisle worked at Saint Petersburg, training numerous students. Some of them later performed cartographic work intended to serve as raw material for an accurate map of the whole of Russia. In order to improve geographical longi ...

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