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  Themes Homepage > Sir John Herschel
 
Famous Slough
Sir John Herschel

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Front page of "A Treatise on Astronomy". 1851
Front page of "A Treatise on Astronomy". 1851
John Herschel was born in Slough on 7th March 1792, the only son of astronomer William Herschel.

In 1809, he went to Cambridge University, and in 1813 became a member of the Royal Society. He began studying law the following year, but quickly gave this up to assist his father with his research. In 1820 he was a founder member of the Royal Astronomical Society, and went on to be its President three times.

 
Between 1820 and 1833, Herschel compiled catalogues of double stars and nebulae from his observations, and in 1833 moved to the Cape of Good Hope to begin a study of the southern skies.

In 1831 Herschel was knighted, and on his return to England in 1838 he was made a baronet. He was considered to be one of the finest scientists of his age. He published several books on science, including 'Outlines of Astronomy', which at the time was considered to be the definitive work on astronomy in the English language.

Letter from Sir John Herschel to John Tatem. 1823
Letter from Sir John Herschel to John Tatem. 1823
 
As well as astronomy, Herschel also made great advances in the field of photography. He developed a fixative for use with silver-based photographs, techniques for making photographs in colour and on glass plates, and was also the first person to use the terms 'positive', 'negative', 'snapshot' and 'photographer'.

In 1850, Herschel became Master of the Royal Mint, a position which he held until 1855, and in that time he oversaw a major reform of the Mint.

John Herschel died in 1871, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, next to Sir Isaac Newton.

Letter from Sir John Herschel to John Tatem. 1823
Letter from Sir John Herschel to John Tatem. 1823
 
 
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  Themes Homepage > Sir John Herschel
 
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