Astronomers: Cambridgeshire

Airy, Sir George Biddell (1801-1892), Plumian Professor (1828-1836), Director of the Cambridge Observatory 1828-1835, Astronomer Royal 1835-1881 (IoAODNB – see County of London.

Adams, John Couch (1819-1892), predicted existence of planet Neptune independently of Le Verrier. Director of the Cambridge Observatory (1861-92) later in life (IoA; Harrison 1994ODNB) – see Cornwall.

Archenhold, Gunter (1904-1999), German refugee and former director of the Archenhold Observatory, Berlin, he held the special post (1939-40) at the Solar Physics Observatory Cambridge, before taking up a teaching position (Obit., JBAA, 109 (1999), 226).

Bacon, Frederic (1880-1943) – see Berkshire.

Bacon, Gertrude (1874-1949) – see Foggitt below.

Bacon John Mackenzie [Rev.; FRAS] (1849-1904) – see Berkshire.

Baldrey,  Andrew Doughty [Lt.] (1785-1843), naval officer, first Senior Assistant at the Cambridge Observatory from 1829, died at the Observatory 1843 (IoA; Hutchins 2008, 70, 88 & 126) .

Ball, Sir Robert Stawell (1840-1913), author of popular books on astronomy, Director of the Cambridge Observatory 1892-1913 (IoAODNB) – see Dublin;

Baxandall, Frank E. (1869?-1929), worked with Norman Lockyer on stellar spectra, moved to Cambridge with the Solar Physics Observatory where he was Senior Assistant Observer from 1913-1929 (IoA; Obit., Obs, 53 (1930), 23-4).

Bell, Julia [Miss] (1879-1979), attended Girton College, Computer at the Cambridge Observatory (1902-7), went on to a successful career in genetics (IoA; ODNB).

Bellamy, H. J. (?),  Assistant to Mr Newall (1902-5), left to work at the Royal Naval College, Osborne (IoA; University Observatory, Cambridge 1895, 24).

Berry, A.G. (fl. 1843-6),  Senior Assistant (1843-1846) at the Cambridge Observatory (Obit., MNRAS, 30 (1930), p.358IoA; Hutchins 2008, 67, 70-1 & 123).

Blackwell, Donald E. (1921-2010), graduate of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Assistant Director of Solar Physics Observatory, Cambridge 1949-1960. Savilian Professor, Oxford 1960-1988 (IoA; Obit., A&G 52 [3] (2011) p.37-38).

Bowd, S.E. (?), Computer (1906-10) at the Cambridge Observatory (IoA).

Bowden, Arthur H. L. (1839-1923), Junior Assistant  1857-1858, Senior Assistant (1858-1863) at the Cambridge Observatory (IoA).

Breen, James (1826-1866) Senior Assistant Observer (1846-1858) at the Cambridge Observatory (IoA; Obit., MNRAS, 27 (1867), 104-5).

Bruck, Hermann Alexander (1905-2000), John Couch Adams Astronomer (1943-1946) at the University Observatory, Cambridge (IoA; Obit., A&G,  41 [6](2000), p.35; ODNB).

Bell-Burnell, Dame Jocelyn (1943- ) discovered first Pulsar at the Institute of Astronomy in 1967 (IoA).

Butler, Charles Pritchard (1871-1952) Career in Solar Physics Observatory, London & Cambridge as Senior Assistant Observer (1889-1937), also a Director of BAA Solar Section (Obit., MNRAS, 113 (1953), 294).

Butler, Hugh Ernest (1916-1978) Emmanuel College, Senior Assistant Solar Physics Observatory/Combined Observatories (1946-8), main career at Edinburgh (IoAObit., QJRAS, 20 (1979), 221-2).

Campbell, A.D. (?) Computer (1905-11) at the  Cambridge Observatory (IoA) .

Carroll, Sir John Anthony  [K.B.E.] (1899-1974), Assistant Director of the Solar Physics Observatory (1925-1930), later career as an Admiralty scientist, Gresham Professor of Astronomy in 1964 (IoAObit., QJRAS, 16 (1975), 100-3).

Catton, Thomas (bapt. 1758-1838) used the observatory (1791-1832) established at St. Johns College, Cambridge (see Northamptonshire; IoAODNB).

Challis, James [Revd.] (1803-1882) responsible for the British hunt for Neptune, Plumian Professor (1836-82) and Cambridge Observatory Director (1836-1861) – (IoA; Obit., MNRAS, 43 (1883), 160-79ODNB).

Christy, Wyvill James (1835- ?) Junior Assistant (1858-60) at the Cambridge Observatory, previously a Computer (1858-59) at Greenwich  (IoA).

Cookson, Bryan  (1874-1909), grandson of R.S. Newall, Assistant in Astrophysics (1906-9) at the Cambridge Observatory (IoAObit., MNRAS, 70 (1910), 297-8) .

Cotes, Roger (1682-1716), Plumian Professor (1707-1716), helped Newton with the second edition of Principia (IoAEdelston 1969; ODNB).

Criswick, George Stickland (1836-1916) most of career at Greenwich, but was Junior Assistant (1854-55) at the Cambridge Observatory (IoA; Obit., MNRAS, 77 (1917), 293-5).

Cross, Charles Arthur (1922-1980) Cambridge graduate, amateur astronomer, mapped Moon and Mars, Cross Crater on Mars is named after him (Obit., JBAA, 90 (1980), p.469).

Darwin, Sir George Howard (1845-1912) Plumian Professor (1883-1912), author on the tides (IoAODNB).

Dobbie, J.C. (fl. 1930-1945) Senior Assistant Observer (1937-45) at the Solar Physics Observatory  (IoA).

Dunthorne, Richard (1711-1775) established observatory at St. Johns College in 1765, expert on Moon motions (IoACorresp., Obs, 28 (1905), 215-6).

Eddington, Sir Arthur (1882-1944), born at Kendal, brought up at Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, senior wrangler 1904.  Senior Assistant at the ROG, 1906, the Plumian Professor (1913-1944), provided evidence for Relativity in 1919 eclipse expedition, popularizer of Relativity. Director (1914-1944) of the Cambridge Observatory (IoAObit., MNRAS105 (1945), 68-79; Obit., Obs, 66 (1945), 1-12ODNB).

Ellis, Richard Salisbury (1950- ), Plumian professor (1995-1999) as fellow of Magdelene College, Cambridge (IoAWiki).

Entwistle, Frederick (1896?-1917) Junior Assistant at the Cambridge Observatory (1914-17). Killed in action as a Second Lieutenant in the 1st Bn. Norfolk Regiment 9 October 1917, he is buried at the Hooge Crater Cemetery, Belgium (IoA).

Fallows, Fearon (1788-1831), born in Cockermouth (see Cumberland; ODNB).

Foggitt [nee Bacon], Gertrude (1874-1949) see Berkshire.

Freeman, Alexander (1838-1897) born in Blackheath (Wonersch), Surrey. A brilliant teacher of mathematics in Cambridge. Astronomy was the love of his life, and in 1893 at the age of 55 he applied for the Savilian chair at Oxford. But in 1871 he had attacked the Royal Observatory Greenwich as ‘an odious Stuart relic … a blot’, and swiping at George Airy, ‘a Garrison of Absolutism, on its haughty eminence’. 1871 had not been forgotten; his referees were brief and damming, the RAS ensured that H.H. Turner, Chief Assistant at Greenwich, was appointed. In 1891 he became rural dean of Sittingbourne, Kent, and built an observatory there (see Kent; ODNB; Obit., MNRAS 58 (1898), 136-7).

Gibb, Hilda  [Miss] ( ? ), Computer (1902-3) at the Cambridge Observatory (IoA).

Glaisher, James [FRS] (1809-1903) Junior Assistant Observer at the Cambridge Observatory (1833-1835), later meteorologist at Greenwich and pioneer balloonist (IoAObit., MNRAS,63 (1904), 280-7).

Glaisher, John (1819-1846) Junior Assistant Observer (1836-1844), at the Cambridge Observatory (IoAObit., MNRAS, 7 (1847), 198-9).

Goatcher, Alfred Winton (1873-1921) Assistant to Mr Newall at the Cambridge Solar Observatory (1892-1902), Established Computer (1902-7) at the Royal Observatory at the Cape , member ‘GOK’ of the BAA VSS (IoA).

Graham, Andrew (1815-1908) Senior Assistant (1864-1903) at the Cambridge Observatory (IoA).

Green, Henry Ernest (1889-1944) Junior Assistant (1918-44) at the Cambridge Observatory, Gresham lecturer in Astrtonomy (IoAObit., MNRAS, 105 (1945), 90-1; Stroobant 1931).

Hardy [Miss] ( ? ), Computer (1876-79/80) at Cambridge Observatory (IoA).

Hartley, William Ernest (1877-1917), Junior Assistant at the Cambridge Observatory (1903-1913), Senior Assistant 1913-1917. Died on H.M.S. Vanguard when the vessel exploded at anchor 9 July 1917, he was serving as a Naval Instructor, he is recorded on the Chatham Naval Memorial (IoA‘Obituary Notices: Fellows:- Hartley, William Ernest’, MNRAS, 17(1918), p.248).

Hawking, Stephen (1942-2018), theoretical physicist and popular writer and researcher (1968-72) at the Institute of Astronomy (IoA).

Hewish, Anthony (1924- ) developed aperture synthesis (1974 Nobel Prize winner) at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory (IoA).

Hinks, Arthur Robert (1873-1945) Junior Assistant (1896-1903), Senior Assistant (1903-1913) at the Cambridge Observatory (IoAObit., MNRAS, 106 (1945), 30-1).

Hoyle, Sir Fred (1915-2001), born Gilstead, West Yorkshire. Cambridge Plumian Professor (1958-1972), developed nucleosynthesis theory in astrophysics, opposed big-bang theory in cosmology, wrote science fiction, founder of the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy, Cambridge (see Yorkshire: West Riding; IoAODNB).

Jeffreys, Sir Harold (1891-1989) Plumian Professor (1946-1958), geophysicist (IoAODNB).

Kennicutt, Robert C. [Jr.] (1951- ) Plumian Professor (2005- ) at the Institute of Astronomy (Wiki).

Kluber, Harald von (1901-1978), Assistant Observer (1949-60) and  Assistant Director at the Solar Physics Observatory (1960-68) – continued to work at Malta outstation until 1971 (IoAObit., QJRAS, 20 (1979), 472-5).

Lax, William (1761–1836), astronomer, in 1795 he succeeded Dr Smith as Lowndes’s prof. of astronomy & geometry at the University of Cambridge (see BuckinghamshireHertfordshire; ODNB).

Long, Roger (1680-1770), first Lowdean Professor of astronomy, created a planetarium sphere ‘the Uranium’ at Pembroke which existed from 1758-1871 (IoAODNB).

Ludlam, William [Revd.] (1717-1788), mathematician, astronomer, clergyman. Made observations from St. John’s College, Cambridge in 1767 and 1768 (IoAMobberley (2006), 120-1; ODNB).

Lynden-Bell, Donald (1935- ), born Dover, best known for his theories that galaxies contain massive black holes at their centre, while working at the University of Cambridge.

Lynn, William Thynne (1835-1911), sent most of his career at Greenwich but was, Junior Assistant (1855-56), at the Cambridge Observatory (Obit., MNRAS, 72 (1912), 249-51; Obit., Obs, 35 (1912), 47-9).

Lyttleton, Raymond Arthur [Prof.] (1911-1995), born Warley Woods, near Birmingham, graduating at St John’s College, Cambridge. Mathematician and theoretical astronomer he worked at Cambridge University (see Worcestershire; IoAODNB).

Malden, Anne Douglas [Miss] (1881-1961), of Newnham College, Computer  (1903-4) at the University Observatory, Cambridge (IoA).

Manning, William Henry (1883-1952) Assistant to Mr Newall (1905-13), Assistant at Solar Physics Observatory (1913-46). Joint author with Stratton of Atlas of Spectra of Nova Herculis 1934 (Cambridge 1939). He was married to the Labour M.P. and teachers union leader, Dame Leah Manning (1886-1977). Lived in the S.P.O. house from when it was new in 1913 (IoA; Manning 1970ODNB).

Marsden, Brian Geoffrey (1937-2010), born in Cambridge, educated in Oxford and Yale, career in USA, Director (1968-2000) of IAU Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT), discovered group of comets the ‘Marsden Group’. Director (1978-2006) of IAU Minor Planet Center [MPC] (Wiki).

Michell, John  [Revd.] (1724/5-1793) Fellow, Queens’ College 1749-64, Rector St. Botoloph’s Cambridge (1762-3), Woodwardian Professor of Geology 1762-67, also telescope maker, observer, binary star and black hole theorist, pioneer geophysicist etc (see NottinghamshireYorkshire; West Riding; IoAODNB).

Milne, Edward Arthur [MBE] (1896-1950) Assistant Director of the Solar Physics Observatory 1920-1924, he went on to become a major figure in relativity and cosmology. Gold Medal of the R.A.S. 1935 (see Yorkshire: East RidingOxfordshire; IoAObit., Obs, 70 (1950), 225-32ODNB).

Morgan, John Holdsworth [FRAS] (1825-1908) Junior Assistant,  the Cambridge Observatory (1844-47). Career in Church of England. Died in Bethlem Hospital (IoAObit., JBAA, p.218).

Morris, P. (?) Junior Assistant at the Cambridge Observatory (1893-96).

Moss, Walter (1878-1958) joined Solar Physics Observatory in 1902, served as Senior Assistant Observer (1929-45) at the University Observatory, Cambridge (IoAObit., MNRAS, 119 (1959), 249-50).

Newall, Hugh Frank (1857-1944) Newall Observer (1891-1904), Assistant Director of Cambridge Observatory (1904-1913), Director of Solar Physics Observatory (1913-1928), son of R.S. Newall, he resided at Madingley Rise and operated the Newall Telescope (IoA;   ODNB).

Newton, Sir Isaac (1642-1727) developed laws of motion and gravity, author of Principia (1687) (see Lincolnshire; IoA; ODNB)

Ostriker, Jeremiah (1937-) Plumian Professor (2001-2004), astrophysicist (IoA).

Parker, David Elijah (1862-1936) Assistant (1891-92) to Mr Newall at the Cambridge Observatory (IoA).

Pierce, E T. (?) Junior Assistant (1945-6) S.P.O./Combined Observatories  (IoA).

Plummer, John Isaac (1845-1925) Computer at the Cambridge Observatory (1859?-December 1863) (IoAAppleton 2012).

Redman, Roderick Oliver (1905-1975), Assistant Director Solar Physics Observatory (1931-37), later Director of the Combined Observatories 1947-1972, FRS (1946) President of the RAS (1959-61) (IoAObit., QJRAS, 17 (1976), 80-6; BMFRS, 22 (1976), 335-7; ODNB).

Rees, Martin, Lord Martin of Ludlow [O.M.] (1942-) Plumian Professor (1973-1991), Astronomer Royal (1995- ) – see Shropshire; IoA.

Roberts, E. (?), Computer  (1879-80)at the Cambridge Observatory (IoA).

Rolston, William Edward (1876-1921), Computer at S.P.O. (901-1913), First Junior Observer (1913-21), although period (1915-21) on military service (IoAObit., MNRAS82 (1922), p.253-4).

Ryle, Sir Martin (1918-1984) Astronomer Royal (1972-82), Nobel Prize winner -1974 (IoAODNB).

Selwyn, William [Canon] (1806-1875), Canon of Ely Cathedral, took with John Titterton, photographs of the solar disc 1863-74 (IoAObit., MNRAS, 36(1875), 145-8ODNB).

Sheepshanks, Richard [Revd.] (1794-1855), fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, Secretary of the RAS, FRS (1830) benefactor to astronomy. His elder sister, Anne Sheepshanks (1789-1876) was a generous donor to the Cambridge, and many other observatories (see Yorkshire: West Riding; IoAODNB).

Shepherd, Anthony (1721-1796) Plumian Professor (1760-1796), published astronomical tables, a friend of Captain Cook (ODNB).

Slater, Noel Bryan (1912-1973) Junior Assistant Observer, S.P.O. 1939-46. Later Professor of Applied Mathematics at Hull, worked on Eddingtons theories (IoAObit., QJRAS ,17 (1974) 65-7).

Snow, Robert  [FRAS] (1805-1854), educated at St. Johns, Cambridge (1831), recorded as an observer with the Northumberland Telescope in 1839 (see Kent; IoA; Report of the Council…’, MNRAS, 15 (1855), p.101).

Smart, William Marshall (1889-1975) Senior Assistant, Cambridge Observatory (1919-1937), John Couch Adams Astronomer (1921-1937), author of ‘Spherical Astronomy’ (1931), later Regius Professor of Astronomy at Glasgow (1937-1959) (IoAObit., QJRAS, 18 (1977), 140-6).

Smith, John (b.1711-1795) second Lowndean Professor, set up a transit telescope at Gonville and Caius (1764) (IoACorresp., MNRAS, 34 (1911), p.449ODNB).

Smith, Robert (1689-1768) Plumian Professor (1716-1760), established an observatory at Trinity College Gateway (IoA; ODNB).

Stanley, Leonard John (1888-?), assistant to Mr Newall (1906-13), Assistant Solar Physics Observatory (1913-46), Assistant (1946-53) Combined Observatories (IoA).

Stratton, Frederick John Marrian [D.S.O.]  (1881-1960) Assistant in Astrophysics 1909-13, Assistant Director of SPO 1913-19, Director of SPO 1919-46, Director of the combined Observatories 1946-7. Author of ‘The History of the Cambridge Observatories’ (1949) (IoAObit., QJRAS, 2 (1961), 44-9; Obit., BMFRS, 7 (1961), 281-93; ODNB).

Swan, John (b.1605-1671) clergyman, author of ‘Speculum mundi’ (1635) (IoAODNB).

Taylor, Henry (?) Junior Assistant (1856-57) at the Cambridge Observatory (IoA).

Thackeray, Andrew David (1910-1978), educated at Eton and Kings College Cambridge, Assistant Director of Solar Physics Observatory 1937-1948, worked at Radcliffe Observatory, Pretoria (1948-74) (IoAObit., Nat., 274 (1978), 100-1Obit., QJRAS, 20 (1979), 216-20).

Titterton, John (1830?-1914) Photographer of Ely, took with Canon William Selwyn, photographs (1863-74) of the solar disc (IoA).

Todd, Sir Charles (1826-1910) as Junior Assistant at the Cambridge Observatory 1847-54 he used the Northumberland Telescope to take a daguerreotype photograph of the Moon. He was later responsible for setting up the telegraph network in Australia (IoAObit., MNRAS, 71 (1911), 272-5).

Todd, Henry David (1836-1900) Computer at the Cambridge Observatory 1859-60 and then Junior Assistant 1860-90, brother of Charles Todd (IoA).

Vince, Samuel (1749-1821), Plumian Professor: 1796-1821, published ‘A Complete System of Astronomy’ (1808) (IoA; ODNB); Suffolk page.

Walker, Anne [Miss] (1864-?) Computer at the Cambridge Observatory (1879-1903), she carried out the duties of an Observer (see Suffolk page; IoAODNB – article for Andrew Graham) .

Williams, Evan Gwyn (1905-1940), graduate of Trinity College, Junior Assistant Observer at S.P.O. (1936-7) (IoA; Obit., MNRAS, 101 (1941), 141-2).

Wilson, Charles Thomson Rees (1869-1959), was an Observer in Meteorological Physics at the Solar Physics Observatory 1913-26, awarded Nobel Prize for Physics 1927 for invention of the cloud chamber (IoA; ODNB).

Woodhouse, Robert (1773-1827) Plumian Professor (1822-7), first Director of the Cambridge Observatory (1824-7 (IoA; ODNB).

Woolley, Sir Richard van der Riet 1906-1986), Senior Assistant and JCA Astronomer at Cambridge Observatory (1937-39), later Astronomer Royal (1956-71) – see Dorset; County of London; Sussex; ODNB; IoA).

Wormell, Thomas Wilson (1903-1985), Observer  (1926-46) in Meteorological Physics at Solar Physics Observatory  (IoAObt., QJRAS, 27 (1986), 131-2).

Wright, T. (?), Computer (1875-81) at the Cambridge Observatory  (IoA).

Yates, G. G. (?), Senior Assistant Observer (1946-56), Solar Physics/Combined Observatories  (IoA).