Person: Downing, Arthur
Arthur Downing was trained as a mathematician at Trinity College, Dublin before spending half his career at the Royal Observatory Greenwich and half as Superintendent of the Nautical Almanac.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Downing was educated at Nutgrove School which had been established in 1802 but closed down in 1876 when the premises became a private residence.
- Samuel Downing had studied at Trinity College, Dublin, graduating with a B.A. in 1834, then going to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he had studied natural philosophy.
- Arthur Downing specialised in mathematics, was awarded a science scholarship for session 1870-71, and graduated with a B.A. towards the end of 1871.
- Carpenter resigned his position at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, shortly after publishing this book and Downing was one of those who applied to fill the vacant post.
- Downing was offered the position of Second Class Assistant and took up his duties at Greenwich on 17 January 1873.
- Downing began publishing papers in 1877 and by the following year had around a dozen notes and papers in print.
- Downing was promoted to First Class Assistant at the Royal Observatory on 15 August 1881.
- She wrote many times to Edward Walter Maunder (1851-1928) who was a colleague of Downing at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich encouraging him to consider setting up a new astronomical society.
- Maunder and Downing discussed the idea.
- Downing was elected Vice-President at this first meeting and, two years later in 1892, he was elected President of the British Astronomical Association, becoming its second president.
- Downing was the secretary and organiser of the expedition and, before setting out, many meetings were held to make the necessary arrangements.
- Downing was one of the 58 members who sailed from Tilbury on 25 July on the Norse King aiming to reach Vadsö, a small fishing station, on Varanger Fjord.
- A formal meeting of the British Astronomical Association was held on board the Norse King on 28 July with Maunder, at that time President of the Association, in the chair and Downing as Secretary.
- Downing's excellent organising had played an important part.
- By the time Downing was organising the eclipse expedition he had changed his job.
- Downing's term of office at Gray's Inn was marked by special efforts at cooperation between similar departments in other countries with the view of avoiding duplication of work, and led to the holding in Paris, in 1896 May, of an International Conference on Fundamental Stars, and the results of the Conference, the inauguration of which was due to him, were far-reaching.
- In later years illness troubled Dr Downing considerably and appeared to intensify his natural reserve.
- Downing retired from his position as Superintendent of the Nautical Almanac on 13 April 1910; retirement was required at the age of sixty.
Born 13 April 1850, Carlow, Ireland. Died 8 December 1917, London, 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