Person: Bliss, Nathaniel
Nathaniel Bliss was an English mathematician and astronomer who went on to become Astronomer Royal.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Bliss then took holy orders, becoming rector of St Ebbe's Church, Oxford in 1736.
- Following the death of Halley in January 1742, Bradley applied for the position of Astronomer Royal and Bliss applied for the Savilian chair of geometry.
- Bliss was supported for this post by Bradley, and also by (among others) George Parker, the second earl of Macclesfield, and by William Jones.
- Bliss was appointed and took up the position on 18 February 1742.
- One consequence of this was that he moved to Greenwich and Bliss now began a correspondence with Bradley which lasted 20 years until Bradley's death.
- In addition Bliss undertook astronomical work with George Parker, the second earl of Macclesfield, who had established an observatory at Shirburn Castle.
- Bliss supplied Bradley with data gained from observing Jupiter's moons and collaborated with Bradley and the Earl of Macclesfield in making observations of the comet of 1745.
- Bliss, of course, was Savilian professor of geometry at Oxford so, although his research interests were mainly in astronomy, he also taught mathematics at Oxford.
- Bliss undertook these observations which he sent to the Royal Society.
- Bliss applied for the position and was duly appointed on 26 August 1762.
- It seems slightly ironical, but Bliss seems to have been more productive in astronomy research when he was the professor of geometry than when he was Astronomer Royal.
- Bliss was one of three leading astronomers to examine the instruments that Maskelyne took to St Helena in 1763-64 as part of the longitude project.
- Mrs Bliss was clearly the driving force behind the special lecture given in the Bodleian Library tower above the Schools quadrangle, for her name heads the published prospectus as organizer, taking precedence over Professor Hornsby who merely delivered it, and stipulating that the admission fee would be by ticket for half a crown.
Born 28 November 1700, Bisley, Gloucester, England. Died 2 September 1764, London, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin England
Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive