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Astronomy and the Harvard Observatory

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Abstract

Since the beginning of civilization, astronomy has been one of the most fascinating of the sciences. And it has been one of the most practical. In the days before modern technology, the stars were the only source of navigational information. So it was with the ancient Egyptians and the Phoenicians. In America, the practicality of astronomy has been evident. Farmers made use of the heavens to predict the weather while sailors predicted the motion of tides.

Keywords

Solar Eclipse Photographic Plate Ancient Egyptian Fraunhofer Line American Astronomer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Endnotes

  1. 1.
    Robert Post, “Science, Public Policy, and Popular Precepts: Alexander Dallas Bache and Alfred Beach as Symbolic Adversaries,” in Nathan Reingold, editor, The Sciences in the American Context: New Perspectives (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, 1979), p. 82.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Stanley Guralnick, “The American Scientist in Higher Education, 1820–1910,” in Nathan Reingold, editor, The Sciences in the American Context: New Perspectives (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1979), p. 188.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Deborah Jean Warner, “Astronomy in Antebellum America,” in Nathan Reingold, editor, The Sciences in the American Context: New Perspectives (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, 1979), p. 62.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Carlene Stephens, “Partners in Time: William Bond & Son of Boston and the Harvard College Observatory,” delivered at exhibition commemorating 150th anniversary of Harvard College Observatory, organized by Department of the History of Science and Technology, National Museum of American History, and the Smithsonian Institution, held at the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University, January 10 through June 9, 1989.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Mitchell Wilson, American Science and Invention (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1954), p. 274; see also Carlene Stephens, op. cit.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
  7. 7.
    Annie J. Cannon, “Classifying the Stars,” from Harlow Shapley and Cecilia H. Payne, editors, The Universe of Stars, as reprinted in Timothy Ferris, editor, The World Treasury of Astronomy and Physics (Little, Brown, Boston, 1991), pp. 272–273.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    K. M. Olesko, “Michelson and the Reform of Physics Instruction at the Naval Academy in the 1870’s” in Stanley Goldberg and Roger Stuewer, editors, The Michelson Era in American Science: 1870–1930 (American Institute of Physics, New York, 1988).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    George Biddell Airy, “Account of some circumstances historically connected with the discovery of the planet exterior to Uranus,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1846, 7:124. Interestingly, according to W. H. Pickering in his article “A Search for a Planet Beyond Neptune” (Annals of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College, Vol. LXI, Part II, p. 133), Bouvard appears to have hindered the search because of some erroneous calculations.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Benjamin Peirce, “On the Law of Vegetable Growth and the Periods of the Planets,” Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1852, 2:241.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    George Forbes, “On Comets,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1880, 10: 427; W. H. Pickering, in his article “The Transneptun-ian Planet” (Annals of the Harvard College Observatory, Vol. 82, No. 3), asserts that Forbes “located it [planet beyond Neptune] by means of the orbits of certain comets.”Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Todd to Forbes, personal letter of June 15,1880, in “Additional Note on an ultra-Neptunian Planet,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1882, 11:91–92.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    J. C. Kapteyn to G. E. Hale, personal letter of February 7,1919, from Harvard University Archives, Lawrence Lowell Papers, UAI 5.160 (1919–22); see also Owen Gingerich, “How Shapley Came to Harvard, Or, Snatching the Prize from the Jaws of Debate,” JHA, 1988, xix.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hale to Lowell, personal letter of March 12,1920, also from Harvard Archives/Lowell Papers.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    G. R. Agassiz to Lowell, personal letter of March 19,1920, also from Harvard Archives/Lowell Papers.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hale to Lowell, personal letter of March 29,1920, also from Harvard Archives/Lowell Papers.Google Scholar

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© Anthony Serafini 1993

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