Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

de Billy, Jacques

Reference work entry

Alternate Name

 Billy, Jacques de

Born Compiègne, (Oise), France, 18 March 1602

Died Dijon, France, 14 January 1679

Jacques de Billy was an astronomical writer, who also made contributions to mathematics, particularly number theory and Diophantine analysis. After studying humanities, he entered the Jesuit order in 1619 and completed his divinity studies, equivalent to a doctorate, in 1638. He taught theology and mathematics at a number of Jesuit colleges in northeastern France, ending his career in Dijon.

Between 1656 and 1670 Billy wrote at least three major works on astronomy in Latin: an advanced text book, a publication on eclipses entitled Tabulae Lodoicaeae(because it was dedicated to Louis XIV, the Sun King), and a book on the crisis in cometary motions. No one knew whether comets moved in straight lines, circular orbits, or some other variant, a confusion brought to the fore by the bright comets of 1664 (C/1664 W1) and 1665 (C/1665 F1). Billy also wrote Le Tombeau de l’Astrologie Judiciairein which he condemned astrology and the casting of horoscopes. Among his manuscripts preserved in Dijon is an ephemeris of the comet of 1590 (C/1590 E1).

Selected Reference

  1. D’Amat, Roman (1954). “Billy.” In Dictionnaire de biographie français. Vol. 6, cols. 484–485. Paris: Letouzey et Ané.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TorontoCanada