Date: 03 Sep 2014

Hill, George William

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Hill, George William. Courtesy of United States Naval Observatory

BornNew York, New York, USA, 3 March 1838

DiedWest Nyack, New York, USA, 16 April 1914

George Hill was one of the great masters of nineteenth century mathematical astronomy. His parents, John William Hill and Catherine Smith, were farmers; both his father and grandfather were also artists. When Hill was about 8 years old, his family moved to West Nyack, where he was to spend the majority of his life.

Hill attended Rutgers College (1855–1859), where he was deeply influenced by his mathematics teacher, Theodore Strong. From Strong’s library, Hill borrowed classical texts in mathematical astronomy stretching back to the works of Leonhard Euler, many of whose methods he seems to have absorbed. After receiving his degree, Hill pursued graduate studies in mathematics and astronomy at Harvard University, under Benjamin Peirce. In 1861, Hill was hired as an assistant by John D. Runkle of the United States Nautical Almanac Office (th ...