An astronomer and writer, Lowell was born in Boston of a long line of distinguished forebears, many involved in the textile industry. The town of Lowell, Massachusetts, was named after one of them.
Lowell graduated from Harvard in 1876, with distinction in mathematics, and took the customary grand tour of Europe, even as far as Syria. He then settled down to work in the cotton industry, but after 6 years of shrewd investments he was free to travel again, including to the Far East. In Korea he was so well received that he was appointed their foreign secretary and counsellor for a Korean diplomatic mission to the United States in 1883. He wrote articles for the Atlantic Monthly and four books about the region, including The Soul of the Far East (1888).
Lowell was also interested in astronomy: his Harvard commencement speech had been on the nebular hypothesis, explaining the origin of the solar system, and he sometimes took a telescope on his travels. One unconfirmed story has Lowell...
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Barlow, N.G., Hetherington, N.S. (1997). Lowell, Percival (1855–1916). In: Encyclopedia of Planetary Science. Encyclopedia of Earth Science. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-4520-4_223
Publisher Name: Springer, Dordrecht
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