Person: Ball, Robert
Robert Ball was an Irish mathematician and astronomer.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Shortly after this, on 13 October, Ball entered Trinity College, Dublin, to study the subjects which he had excelled in at Dr Brindley's school namely mathematics and science.
- Ball was an outstanding student at Trinity College, Dublin, winning gold medals and prizes, and his financial position was eased when he won a scholarship in 1860.
- In around 1864 Rosse sought a tutor for his three sons, and Ball was recommended to him for the post.
- Ball accepted on condition that he could use of the 72-inch telescope, which Rosse was happy to agree to, and he took up the position in 1865.
- After two years working for Rosse, Ball was offered the chair of applied mathematics and mechanics in the Royal College of Science in Dublin which had recently been founded.
- The main mathematical topic on which Ball did research was dynamics, in particular the theory of screws.
- The Royal Astronomer was based at Dunsink Observatory, 8 km north of Dublin, where Ball had met Hamilton when he (Ball) was a young man.
- Ball was appointed Royal Astronomer of Ireland and to the Andrews Chair of Astronomy of Trinity College Dublin after successfully submitting a seven-page printed application for these positions.
- Ball charged a high price for his lectures, but he always addressed packed halls.
- In 1884 Ball sailed to Canada to lecture at the British Association Meeting in Montreal.
- Ball applied for the vacant position and was appointed as Lowndean Professor of Astronomy and Geometry but disputes with the university meant that he had to wait a year before he was appointed director of the Cambridge Observatory.
- As well as the honours which we referred to above, we should mention that Ball was knighted in 1886.
Born 1 July 1840, Dublin, Ireland. Died 25 November 1913, Cambridge, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Ireland
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive