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

Dixon, Jeremiah

  • Francine Jackson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-9917-7_368

BornBishop Auckland, Durham, England, 27 July 1733

DiedCockfield, Durham, England, 22 January 1779

Jeremiah Dixon was a surveyor and astronomer who, with  Charles Mason, surveyed the Mason-Dixon Line delineating the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania, USA. Dixon was born to well-to-do Quaker parents, George and Mary Hunter Dixon; his father owed a coal mine that was believed to have drawn coal as far back as the fourteenth century. Dixon was educated in private schools, where he excelled in mathematics and astronomy.

With the transit of Venus of 1761 impending, Astronomer Royal  James Bradleychose Mason to lead an observatory expedition to Bencoolen, Sumatra. On the voyage, he was accompanied by Dixon. They departed in November 1760 aboard HMS Seahorsewith orders to proceed to Bencoolen unless it was in the hands of the French, in which case they would divert to Batavia. While still in the English Channel, the Seahorsewas attacked by the French frigate Le Grand. After a...

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Selected References

  1. Leach, Charles D. (1982). “Placing the Post Mark’d West.” Pennsylvania Heritage8, no. 4: 8–12.MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  2. Pynchon, Thomas (1997). Mason and Dixon. New York: Henry Holt and Co.Google Scholar
  3. Woolf, Harry (1959). The Transits of Venus: A Study of Eighteenth-Century Science. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and Earth SciencesFramingham State UniversityFraminghamUSA