Person: Woodward, Robert Simpson
Robert Woodward was an American civil engineer, physicist and mathematician who also worked in astronomy.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Woodward graduated with a C.E. from the University of Michigan in 1872.
- Woodward went as an assistant to Asaph Hall, the discoverer of the satellites of Mars, to observe in San Antonio.
- Woodward was appointed as an astronomer to the United States Geological Survey in 1884.
- As can be seen from these titles, part of Woodward's work consisted of computing latitudes and longitudes and using the data in making maps.
- In 1889 Woodward, as Vice-President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, gave an address on a topic which was of great current interest.
- Woodward had reexamined the problem and gone onto it in considerably greater depth than Lord Kelvin.
- Of course, the reason that Lord Kelvin and Woodward were both wrong with their estimates of the age of the earth was only realised later when it was understood that heating of the earth occurs due to radioactivity.
- In 1890 Woodward resigned from the United States Geological Survey to take up a position with the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey.
- The Director of the Geological Survey regretted Woodward's resignation and gave a full assessment of his contributions.
- In his new post, Woodward developed triangulation methods of surveying which were less expensive and more accurate than those employed up to that time.
- In addition to the tables themselves, Woodward included a long preliminary discussion which contained useful formulas and a section on the theory of errors.
- In 1893 Woodward was appointed Professor of Mechanics at Columbia University.
- During his time in New York, Woodward was closely associated with the American Mathematical Society.
- In 1904 Woodward left New York to take up the post of president of the newly formed Carnegie Institute of Washington which had been set up with ten million dollars gifted by Andrew Carnegie to promote study and research.
- Woodward received many honours in addition to those associated with the American Mathematical Society quoted above.
- In 1922 Woodward, then 72 years of age, looked at the current state of the United States.
Born 21 July 1849, Rochester, Oakland County, Michigan, USA. Died 29 June 1924, Washington, D.C., USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Usa
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive