The Info List - George Biddell Airy

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Sir George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
KCB PRS (/ˈɛəri/; 27 July 1801 – 2 January 1892) was an English mathematician and astronomer, Astronomer Royal from 1835 to 1881. His many achievements include work on planetary orbits, measuring the mean density of the Earth, a method of solution of two-dimensional problems in solid mechanics and, in his role as Astronomer
Royal, establishing Greenwich
as the location of the prime meridian. His reputation has been tarnished by allegations that, through his inaction, Britain lost the opportunity of priority in the discovery of Neptune.


1 Biography

1.1 Research

1.1.1 Mean density of the Earth 1.1.2 Reference geoid 1.1.3 Planetary inequalities 1.1.4 Astronomer
Royal 1.1.5 Search for Neptune 1.1.6 Ether drag test 1.1.7 Lunar theory 1.1.8 Engineering mechanics Stress function method Tay Bridge disaster

1.1.9 Controversy

1.2 Private life

2 Legacy and honours 3 Bibliography 4 Notes 5 References 6 External links

6.1 Obituaries

Biography[edit] Airy was born at Alnwick, one of a long line of Airys who traced their descent back to a family of the same name residing at Kentmere, in Westmorland, in the 14th century. The branch to which he belonged, having suffered in the English Civil War, moved to Lincolnshire
and became farmers. Airy was educated first at elementary schools in Hereford, and afterwards at Colchester Royal Grammar School.[1] An introverted child, Airy gained popularity with his schoolmates through his great skill in the construction of peashooters.[2] From the age of 13, Airy stayed frequently with his uncle, Arthur Biddell at Playford, Suffolk. Biddell introduced Airy to his friend Thomas Clarkson, the slave trade abolitionist who lived at Playford Hall. Clarkson had an MA in mathematics from Cambridge, and examined Airy in classics and then subsequently arranged for him to be examined by a Fellow from Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
on his knowledge of mathematics.[3][4] As a result, he entered Trinity in 1819, as a sizar, meaning that he paid a reduced fee but essentially worked as a servant to make good the fee reduction.[5] Here he had a brilliant career, and seems to have been almost immediately recognised as the leading man of his year. In 1822 he was elected scholar of Trinity, and in the following year he graduated as senior wrangler and obtained first Smith's Prize. On 1 October 1824 he was elected fellow of Trinity, and in December 1826 was appointed Lucasian professor of mathematics in succession to Thomas Turton. This chair he held for little more than a year, being elected in February 1828 Plumian professor of astronomy and director of the new Cambridge Observatory.[1] In 1836 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1840, a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 1859 he became foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[6] Research[edit]

George Biddell Airy

Some idea of his activity as a writer on mathematical and physical subjects during these early years may be gathered from the fact that previous to this appointment he had contributed no less than three important memoirs to the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, and eight to the Cambridge Philosophical Society. At the Cambridge Observatory
Cambridge Observatory
Airy soon showed his power of organisation. The only telescope in the establishment when he took charge was the transit instrument, and to this he vigorously devoted himself. By the adoption of a regular system of work, and a careful plan of reduction, he was able to keep his observations up to date, and published them annually with a punctuality which astonished his contemporaries. Before long a mural circle was installed, and regular observations were instituted with it in 1833. In the same year the Duke of Northumberland presented the Cambridge observatory with a fine object-glass of 12-inch aperture, which was mounted according to Airy's designs and under his superintendence, although construction was not completed until after he moved to Greenwich
in 1835.[1] Airy's writings during this time are divided between mathematical physics and astronomy. The former are for the most part concerned with questions relating to the theory of light arising out of his professorial lectures, among which may be specially mentioned his paper On the Diffraction of an Object-Glass with Circular Aperture, and his enunciation of the complete theory of the rainbow.[citation needed] In 1831 the Copley Medal of the Royal Society
Royal Society
was awarded to him for these researches. Of his astronomical writings during this period the most important are his investigation of the mass of Jupiter, his report to the British Association
British Association
on the progress of astronomy during the 19th century, and his work On an Inequality of Long Period in the Motions of the Earth
and Venus.[7] One of the sections of his able and instructive report was devoted to "A Comparison of the Progress of Astronomy
in England with that in other Countries," very much to the disadvantage of England. This reproach was subsequently to a great extent removed by his own labours.[8] Mean density of the Earth[edit] One of the most remarkable of Airy's researches was his determination of the mean density of the Earth. In 1826, the idea occurred to him of attacking this problem by means of pendulum experiments at the top and bottom of a deep mine. His first attempt, made in the same year, at the Dolcoath mine
Dolcoath mine
in Cornwall, failed in consequence of an accident to one of the pendulums. A second attempt in 1828 was defeated by a flooding of the mine, and many years elapsed before another opportunity presented itself. The experiments eventually took place at the Harton pit near South Shields
South Shields
in 1854. Their immediate result was to show that gravity at the bottom of the mine exceeded that at the top by 1/19286 of its amount, the depth being 383 m (1,256 ft) From this he was led to the final value of Earth's specific density of 6.566.[9] This value, although considerably in excess of that previously found by different methods, was held by Airy, from the care and completeness with which the observations were carried out and discussed, to be "entitled to compete with the others on, at least, equal terms."[8] The currently accepted value for Earth's density is 5.5153 g/cm³.[citation needed] Reference geoid[edit] In 1830, Airy calculated the lengths of the polar radius and equatorial radius of the earth using measurements taken in the UK. Although his measurements were superseded by more accurate radius figures (such as those used for GRS 80
GRS 80
and WGS84) his Airy geoid (strictly a reference ellipsoid, OSGB36) is still used by Great Britain's Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
for mapping of England, Scotland and Wales because it better fits the local sea level (about 80 cm below world average).[10][11] Planetary inequalities[edit] Airy's discovery of a new inequality in the motions of Venus
and the Earth
is in some respects his most remarkable achievement. In correcting the elements of Delambre's solar tables he had been led to suspect an inequality overlooked by their constructor. The cause of this he did not long seek in vain; thirteen times the mean motion of Venus
is so nearly equal to eight times that of Earth
that the difference amounts to only a small fraction of Earth's mean motion, and from the fact that the term depending on this difference, although very small in itself, receives in the integration of the differential equations a multiplier of about 2,200,000, Airy was led to infer the existence of a sensible inequality extending over 240 years (Phil. Trans. cxxii. 67). The investigation was probably the most laborious that had been made up to Airy's time in planetary theory, and represented the first specific improvement in the solar tables effected in England since the establishment of the theory of gravity. In recognition of this work the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society was awarded to him in 1833[8] (he would win it again in 1846). Astronomer

Airy's Transit Circle in the Transit Circle Room, Greenwich

In June 1835 Airy was appointed Astronomer Royal
Astronomer Royal
in succession to John Pond, and began his long career at the national observatory which constitutes his chief title to fame. The condition of the observatory at the time of his appointment was such that Lord Auckland, the first Lord of the Admiralty, considered that "it ought to be cleared out," while Airy admitted that "it was in a queer state." With his usual energy he set to work at once to reorganise the whole management. He remodelled the volumes of observations, put the library on a proper footing, mounted the new (Sheepshanks) equatorial and organised a new magnetic observatory. In 1847 an altazimuth was erected, designed by Airy to enable observations of the moon to be made not only on the meridian, but whenever it might be visible.[12] In 1848 Airy invented the reflex zenith tube to replace the zenith sector previously employed. At the end of 1850 the great transit circle of 203 mm (8 inch) aperture and 3.5 m (11 ft 6 in) focal length was erected, and is still the principal instrument of its class at the observatory. The mounting in 1859 of an equatorial of 330 mm (13 inch) aperture evoked the comment in his journal for that year, "There is not now a single person employed or instrument used in the observatory which was there in Mr Pond's time"; and the transformation was completed by the inauguration of spectroscopic work in 1868 and of the photographic registration of sunspots in 1873.[8]

Prime Meridian
Prime Meridian
in Greenwich

The formidable undertaking of reducing the accumulated planetary observations made at Greenwich
from 1750 to 1830 was already in progress under Airy's supervision when he became Astronomer
Royal. Shortly afterwards he undertook the further laborious task of reducing the enormous mass of observations of the moon made at Greenwich
during the same period under the direction, successively, of James Bradley, Nathaniel Bliss, Nevil Maskelyne
Nevil Maskelyne
and John Pond, to defray the expense of which a large sum of money was allotted by the Treasury. As a result, no fewer than 8,000 lunar observations were rescued from oblivion, and were, in 1846, placed at the disposal of astronomers in such a form that they could be used directly for comparison with the theory and for the improvement of the tables of the moon's motion.[8] For this work Airy received in 1848 a testimonial from the Royal Astronomical Society, and it at once led to the discovery by Peter Andreas Hansen of two new inequalities in the moon's motion. After completing these reductions, Airy made inquiries, before engaging in any theoretical investigation in connection with them, whether any other mathematician was pursuing the subject, and learning that Hansen had taken it in hand under the patronage of the king of Denmark, but that, owing to the death of the king and the consequent lack of funds, there was danger of his being compelled to abandon it, he applied to the admiralty on Hansen's behalf for the necessary sum. His request was immediately granted, and thus it came about that Hansen's famous Tables de la Lune were dedicated to La Haute Amirauté de sa Majesté la Reine de la Grande Bretagne et d'Irlande.[8] In 1851 Airy established a new Prime Meridian
Prime Meridian
at Greenwich. This line, the fourth " Greenwich
Meridian," became the definitive internationally recognised line in 1884.[citation needed] Search for Neptune[edit]

George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
caricatured by Ape in Vanity Fair Nov 1875

Main article: Discovery of Neptune In June 1846, Airy started corresponding with French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier over the latter's prediction that irregularities in the motion of Uranus
were due to a so-far unobserved body. Aware that Cambridge Astronomer
John Couch Adams
John Couch Adams
had suggested that he had made similar predictions, on 9 July Airy entreated James Challis to undertake a systematic search in the hope of securing the triumph of discovery for Britain. Ultimately, a rival search in Berlin by Johann Gottfried Galle, instigated by Le Verrier, won the race for priority.[13] Though Airy was "abused most savagely both by English and French"[14] for his failure to act on Adams's suggestions more promptly, there have also been claims that Adams's communications had been vague and dilatory[13] and further that the search for a new planet was not the responsibility of the Astronomer
Royal.[15] Ether drag test[edit] Main article: Luminiferous aether By means of a water-filled telescope, Airy in 1871 looked for a change in stellar aberration through the refracting water due to an ether drag.[16] Like in all other aether drift experiments, he obtained a negative result. Lunar theory[edit] In 1872 Airy conceived the idea of treating the lunar theory in a new way, and at the age of seventy-one he embarked on the prodigious toil which this scheme entailed. A general description of his method will be found in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. xxxiv, No. 3. It consisted essentially in the adoption of Charles-Eugène Delaunay's final numerical expressions for longitude, latitude, and parallax, with a symbolic term attached to each number, the value of which was to be determined by substitution in the equations of motion.[8] In this mode of treating the question the order of the terms is numerical, and though the amount of labour is such as might well have deterred a younger man, yet the details were easy, and a great part of it might be entrusted to "a mere computer".[8][a] The work was published in 1886, when its author was eighty-five years of age. For some little time previously he had been harassed by a suspicion that certain errors had crept into the computations, and accordingly he addressed himself to the task of revision. But his powers were no longer what they had been, and he was never able to examine sufficiently into the matter. In 1890 he tells us how a grievous error had been committed in one of the first steps, and pathetically adds, "My spirit in the work was broken, and I have never heartily proceeded with it since."[8] Engineering mechanics[edit] Stress function method[edit] In 1862, Airy presented a new technique to determine the strain and stress field within a beam.[17] This technique, sometimes called the Airy stress function method, can be used to find solutions to many two-dimensional problems in solid mechanics (see Wikiversity). For example, it was used by H. M. Westergaard[18] to determine the stress and strain field around a crack tip and thereby this method contributed to the development of fracture mechanics. Tay Bridge disaster[edit]

Original Tay Bridge from the north

Destruction of the Tay Bridge

Airy was consulted about wind speeds and pressures likely to be encountered on the proposed Forth suspension bridge being designed by Thomas Bouch
Thomas Bouch
for the North British Railway
North British Railway
in the late 1870s. He thought that pressures no greater than about 10 pounds per square foot could be expected, a comment Bouch took to mean also applied to the first Tay railway bridge then being built. Much greater pressures, however, can be expected in severe storms. Airy was called to give evidence before the Official Inquiry into the Tay Bridge disaster, and was criticised for his advice. However, little was known about the problems of wind resistance of large structures, and a Royal Commission on Wind Pressure was asked to conduct research into the problem.[19] Controversy[edit] Airy was described in his obituary published by the Royal Society
Royal Society
as being "a tough adversary" and stories of various disagreements and conflicts with other scientists survive. Francis Ronalds
Francis Ronalds
discovered Airy to be his foe while he was inaugural Honorary Director of the Kew Observatory, which Airy considered to be a competitor to Greenwich.[20][21] Other well documented conflicts were with Charles Babbage and Sir James South.[22][23] Private life[edit]

George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
(John Collier, 1883)

In July 1824, Airy met Richarda Smith (1804–1875), "a great beauty", on a walking tour of Derbyshire. He later wrote, "Our eyes met ... and my fate was sealed ... I felt irresistibly that we must be united," and Airy proposed two days later. Richarda's father, the Revd Richard Smith, felt that Airy lacked the financial resources to marry his daughter. Only in 1830, with Airy established in his Cambridge position, was permission for the marriage granted.[13][24][25] The Airys had nine children, the first three died young. Elizabeth Airy (born 1833) died of consumption (tuberculosis) in 1852. The eldest to survive to adulthood was Wilfrid (1836-1925), who designed and engineered "Colonel" George Tomline's Orwell Park Observatory.[26][27] Wilfrid's daughter was the artist Anna Airy.[27] Anna’s mother died shortly after she was born and she was raised by her maiden aunts Christabel and Annot (see below). Their son Hubert Airy (1838–1903) was a doctor, and a pioneer in the study of migraine.[28] Airy himself suffered from this condition. Their eldest daughter, Hilda (1840–1916), married the mathematician Edward Routh
Edward Routh
in 1864.[29] Neither of their next two daughters married, they were Christabel (1842-1917) and Annot (1843-1924). The Airys youngest child was Osmund (1845-1929). Airy was knighted on 17 June 1872.[30] Airy retired in 1881, living with his two un-married daughters at Croom's Hill near Greenwich. In 1891, he suffered a fall and an internal injury. He survived the consequential surgery only a few days. His wealth at death was £27,713. Airy and his wife and three pre-deceased children are buried at St. Mary's Church in Playford, Suffolk.[13] A cottage owned by Airy still stands, adjacent to the church and now in private hands.[31] Legacy and honours[edit]

Elected president of the Royal Astronomical Society
Royal Astronomical Society
four times, for a total of seven years (1835–37, 1849–51, 1853–55, 1863-64). No other person has been president more than four times (a record he shares with Francis Baily).[32] Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1832)[33] The Martian crater Airy is named for him.[34] Within that crater lies another smaller crater called Airy-0
whose location defines the prime meridian of that planet, as does the location of Airy's 1850 telescope for Earth.[35] winner of the Lalande Prize for astronomy from the French Academy of Sciences, 1834 There is also a lunar crater Airy named in his honour.[36] Airy wave theory
Airy wave theory
is the linear theory for the propagation of gravity waves on the surface of a fluid.[37] The Airy functions Ai(x) and Bi(x) and the differential equation they arise from are named in his honour, as well as the Airy disc
Airy disc
and Airy points.


By Airy

Popular Astronomy: A Series of Lectures Delivered at Ipswich (Full text at Popular Astronomy.)

A complete list of Airy's 518 printed papers is in Airy (1896). Among the most important are:

Airy, G. B. (1826) Mathematical Tracts on Physical Astronomy; (1828) On the Lunar Theory, The Figure of the Earth, Precession and Nutation, and Calculus of Variations, to which, in the second edition of 1828, were added tracts on the Planetary Theory and the Undulatory Theory of Light; (1839) Experiments on Iron-built Ships, instituted for the purpose of discovering a correction for the deviation of the Compass produced-by the Iron of the Ships; and (1861) On the Algebraic and Numerical Theory of Errors of Observations and the Combination of Observations.

About Airy

Airy, George Biddell; Wilfrid, Airy, (1896). The Autobiography of Sir George Biddell Airy. Cambridge University Press. OCLC 13130558. Retrieved 24 February 2008.  Cannon, W.F. (November 1964). "Scientists and broad churchmen: an early Victorian intellectual network". The Journal of British Studies. 4 (1): 65–88. doi:10.1086/385492. JSTOR 175122. PMID 19588590.  Satterthwaite, G. E. (2003). "Airy's zenith telescopes and "the Birth-Star of Modern Astronomy"". Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. James Cook University. 6 (1): 13. Bibcode:2003JAHH....6...13S.  Winterburn, E. (2002). "The Airy Transit Circle". British History – Victorians. BBC. Retrieved 9 September 2007. 


^ a b c Chisholm 1911, p. 445. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "George Biddell Airy", MacTutor History of Mathematics
archive, University of St Andrews . ^ Autobiography of Sir George Biddel Airy (see Google books) ^ Sir George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
KCB. Leaflet available from Playford church ^ "Airy, George Biddell (ARY819GB)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.  ^ "Sir George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
(1801–1892)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 19 July 2015.  ^ Chisholm 1911, pp. 445-446. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chisholm 1911, p. 446. ^ Airy, G. B. (1856). "Account of Pendulum
Experiments Undertaken in the Harton Colliery, for the Purpose of Determining the Mean Density of the Earth". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 146: 343–355. doi:10.1098/rstl.1856.0015.  ^ "WGS84 and the Greenwich
Meridian". Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Retrieved 9 May 2014.  ^ "A Guide to Coordinate Systems" (PDF). Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 9 May 2014.  ^ Satterthwaite, Gilbert E. (2006). "Airy's Altazimuth". The Antiquarian Astronomer. Society for the History of Astronomy. 3: 83–94. Bibcode:2006AntAs...3...83S. Retrieved 5 November 2015.  ^ a b c d Chapman, Allan (2006). "Airy, Sir George Biddell (1801–1892)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/251.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) ^ Airy, George Biddell; Wilfrid, Airy, (1896). The Autobiography of Sir George Biddell Airy. Cambridge University Press. OCLC 13130558. Retrieved 24 February 2008.  ^ Hutchins, R. (2004). "Adams, John Couch (1819–1892)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/123.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) ^ Airy, G. B. (1871). "On the Supposed Alteration in the Amount of Astronomical Aberration of Light, Produced by the Passage of the Light through a Considerable Thickness of Refracting Medium". Proceedings of the Royal Society
Royal Society
of London. 20: 35–39. doi:10.1098/rspl.1871.0011.  ^ Airy, G. B. (1863). "On the Strains in the Interior of Beams". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 153: 49–80. doi:10.1098/rstl.1863.0004.  ^ Westergaard, H. M. (1939). "Bearing Pressures and Cracks". Journal of Applied Mechanics. 6: 49–53.  ^ Lewis, P.R. (2004). Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay: Reinvestigating the Tay Bridge Disaster of 1879. London: NPI Media Group. pp. 115–116. ISBN 0-7524-3160-9.  ^ Ronalds, B.F. (2016). Sir Francis Ronalds: Father of the Electric Telegraph. London: Imperial College Press. ISBN 978-1-78326-917-4.  ^ Ronalds, B.F. (June 2016). "Sir Francis Ronalds
Francis Ronalds
and the Early Years of the Kew Observatory". Weather. Bibcode:2016Wthr...71..131R. doi:10.1002/wea.2739.  ^ Swade, D. D. "Calculation and Tabulation in the Nineteenth Century: Airy versus Babbage" (PDF). Doron Swade's PhD Thesis. Retrieved 22 June 2016.  ^ Hoskin, M (1989). "Astronomers at War: South v. Sheepshanks". Journal for the History of Astronomy. 20 (3): 175–212. Bibcode:1989JHA....20..175H. Retrieved 8 June 2017.  ^ Chapman, Allan (January 1998). "The Female Touch". Astronomy
Now. 12: 43–47.  ^ Chapman, Allan (June 2003). "Porters, watchmen, and the crime of William Sayers: the non-scientific staff of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, in Victorian times". Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. James Cook University. 6 (1): 27. Bibcode:2003JAHH....6...27C.  ^ Goward, K.J. (2005). "G B Airy's Country Retreat". Institute of Astronomy. University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on 7 August 2007. Retrieved 9 September 2007.  ^ a b Goward, Kenneth J (2006). "Founding of Orwell Park Observatory". Institute of Astronomy. University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on 15 November 2007. Retrieved 16 December 2007.  ^ Eadie, MJ (2009). "Hubert Airy, contemporary men of science and the migraine aura". J R Coll Physicians Edinb. 39: 263–7. PMID 20608346.  ^ Fuller, A. T. (2004). "Routh, Edward John (1831–1907)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/35850.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) ^ "No. 23868". The London Gazette. 18 June 1872. p. 2801.  ^ A description and images of Airy's Suffolk cottage and church are found in Goward (2005) ^ "LIST OF PRESIDENTS AND DATES OF OFFICE". A brief history of the RAS. Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 10 September 2012.  ^ " Book
of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 6 April 2011.  ^ "Mars Nomenclature: Crater, craters". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS: Astrogeology Research Program. Retrieved 16 August 2007.  ^ Morton, Oliver (2002). Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World. New York: Picador USA. pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-312-24551-3.  ^ Cocks, E. E.; Cocks, J. C. (1995). Who's Who on the Moon: A Biographical Dictionary of Lunar Nomenclature. Tudor Publishers. ISBN 0-936389-27-3.  ^ Holthuijsen, Leo H. (2007). Waves in oceanic and coastal waters. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 106. ISBN 0-521-86028-8. 

^ At the time that this was written, the term "computer" referred to a human being who performed calculating work, either manually or with mechanical aids.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Airy, Sir George Biddell". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 445–447. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to George Biddell Airy.

Works written by or about George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
at Wikisource

Wikiquote has quotations related to: George Biddell Airy

" Sketch of George Biddell Airy" Popular Science Monthly
Popular Science Monthly
Volume 3 Wikisource
May 1873 ISSN 0161-7370  O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "George Biddell Airy", MacTutor History of Mathematics
archive, University of St Andrews . Works by George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
at Project Gutenberg Works by Wilfrid Airy at Project Gutenberg Works by or about George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
at Internet Archive Awarding of RAS gold medal, 1833: MNRAS 2 (1833) 159 Awarding of RAS gold medal, 1846: MNRAS 7 (1846) 64 Weisstein, Eric Wolfgang (ed.). "Airy, George (1801–1892)". ScienceWorld.  Mathematical Tracts on the Lunar and Planetary Theories 4th edition (London, McMillan, 1858) Full texts of some of the papers by Airy are available at Gallica: bibliothèque numérique de la Bibliothèque nationale de France "Archival material relating to George Biddell Airy". UK National Archives. 


E. J. R., Proceedings of the Royal Society, 51 (1892), i–xii The Times, 5 January 1892 East Anglian Daily Times, 11 January 1892 Suffolk Chronicle, 9 January 1892 Daily Times, 5 January 1892 "Obituary – Sir George Biddell Airy". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 52: 212–229. 1892. Bibcode:1892MNRAS..52..212.. doi:10.1093/mnras/52.4.212.  Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 108 (1891–92), 391–394 Astronomical Journal 11 (1892) 96 Astronomische Nachrichten 129 (1892) 33/34 The Observatory 15 (1892) 73 Obituary in:  "Notes and Obituary Notes". Popular Science Monthly. 40. April 1892. 

v t e

Copley Medallists (1801–1850)

Astley Cooper
Astley Cooper
(1801) William Hyde Wollaston
William Hyde Wollaston
(1802) Richard Chenevix (1803) Smithson Tennant
Smithson Tennant
(1804) Humphry Davy
Humphry Davy
(1805) Thomas Andrew Knight
Thomas Andrew Knight
(1806) Everard Home
Everard Home
(1807) William Henry (1808) Edward Troughton
Edward Troughton
(1809) Benjamin Collins Brodie (1811) William Thomas Brande
William Thomas Brande
(1813) James Ivory (1814) David Brewster
David Brewster
(1815) Henry Kater
Henry Kater
(1817) Robert Seppings
Robert Seppings
(1818) Hans Christian Ørsted
Hans Christian Ørsted
(1820) Edward Sabine
Edward Sabine
/ John Herschel
John Herschel
(1821) William Buckland
William Buckland
(1822) John Pond (1823) John Brinkley (1824) François Arago
François Arago
/ Peter Barlow (1825) James South (1826) William Prout
William Prout
/ Henry Foster (1827) George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
(1831) Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday
/ Siméon Denis Poisson
Siméon Denis Poisson
(1832) Giovanni Antonio Amedeo Plana
Giovanni Antonio Amedeo Plana
(1834) William Snow Harris
William Snow Harris
(1835) Jöns Jacob Berzelius
Jöns Jacob Berzelius
/ Francis Kiernan (1836) Antoine César Becquerel
Antoine César Becquerel
/ John Frederic Daniell
John Frederic Daniell
(1837) Carl Friedrich Gauss
Carl Friedrich Gauss
/ Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday
(1838) Robert Brown (1839) Justus von Liebig
Justus von Liebig
/ Jacques Charles François Sturm
Jacques Charles François Sturm
(1840) Georg Ohm
Georg Ohm
(1841) James MacCullagh
James MacCullagh
(1842) Jean-Baptiste Dumas
Jean-Baptiste Dumas
(1843) Carlo Matteucci (1844) Theodor Schwann
Theodor Schwann
(1845) Urbain Le Verrier
Urbain Le Verrier
(1846) John Herschel
John Herschel
(1847) John Couch Adams
John Couch Adams
(1848) Roderick Murchison
Roderick Murchison
(1849) Peter Andreas Hansen
Peter Andreas Hansen

v t e

Lucasian Professors of Mathematics

Isaac Barrow
Isaac Barrow
(1664) Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
(1669) William Whiston
William Whiston
(1702) Nicholas Saunderson
Nicholas Saunderson
(1711) John Colson (1739) Edward Waring
Edward Waring
(1760) Isaac Milner (1798) Robert Woodhouse
Robert Woodhouse
(1820) Thomas Turton
Thomas Turton
(1822) George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
(1826) Charles Babbage
Charles Babbage
(1828) Joshua King
Joshua King
(1839) George Stokes (1849) Joseph Larmor (1903) Paul Dirac
Paul Dirac
(1932) James Lighthill
James Lighthill
(1969) Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking
(1979) Michael Green (2009) Michael Cates (2015)

v t e

Astronomers Royal

John Flamsteed
John Flamsteed
(1675) Edmond Halley
Edmond Halley
(1720) James Bradley
James Bradley
(1742) Nathaniel Bliss
Nathaniel Bliss
(1762) Nevil Maskelyne
Nevil Maskelyne
(1765) John Pond (1811) George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
(1835) William Christie (1881) Frank Watson Dyson
Frank Watson Dyson
(1910) Harold Spencer Jones (1933) Richard van der Riet Woolley (1956) Martin Ryle (1972) Francis Graham-Smith
Francis Graham-Smith
(1982) Arnold Wolfendale
Arnold Wolfendale
(1991) Martin Rees (1995)

Book:Astronomers Royal Category:Astronomers Royal Portal:Astronomy

v t e

Presidents of the Royal Society

17th century

Viscount Brouncker (1662) Joseph Williamson (1677) Christopher Wren
Christopher Wren
(1680) John Hoskyns (1682) Cyril Wyche
Cyril Wyche
(1683) Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
(1684) Earl of Carbery (1686) Earl of Pembroke (1689) Robert Southwell (1690) Charles Montagu (1695) Lord Somers (1698)

18th century

Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
(1703) Hans Sloane
Hans Sloane
(1727) Martin Folkes
Martin Folkes
(1741) Earl of Macclesfield (1752) Earl of Morton (1764) James Burrow
James Burrow
(1768) James West (1768) James Burrow
James Burrow
(1772) John Pringle
John Pringle
(1772) Joseph Banks
Joseph Banks

19th century

William Hyde Wollaston
William Hyde Wollaston
(1820) Humphry Davy
Humphry Davy
(1820) Davies Gilbert
Davies Gilbert
(1827) Duke of Sussex (1830) Marquess of Northampton (1838) Earl of Rosse (1848) Lord Wrottesley (1854) Benjamin Collins Brodie (1858) Edward Sabine
Edward Sabine
(1861) George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
(1871) Joseph Dalton Hooker
Joseph Dalton Hooker
(1873) William Spottiswoode
William Spottiswoode
(1878) Thomas Henry Huxley
Thomas Henry Huxley
(1883) George Gabriel Stokes (1885) William Thomson (1890) Joseph Lister
Joseph Lister

20th century

William Huggins
William Huggins
(1900) Lord Rayleigh (1905) Archibald Geikie
Archibald Geikie
(1908) William Crookes
William Crookes
(1913) J. J. Thomson
J. J. Thomson
(1915) Charles Scott Sherrington
Charles Scott Sherrington
(1920) Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford
(1925) Frederick Gowland Hopkins
Frederick Gowland Hopkins
(1930) William Henry Bragg
William Henry Bragg
(1935) Henry Hallett Dale
Henry Hallett Dale
(1940) Robert Robinson (1945) Edgar Adrian (1950) Cyril Norman Hinshelwood
Cyril Norman Hinshelwood
(1955) Howard Florey
Howard Florey
(1960) Patrick Blackett (1965) Alan Lloyd Hodgkin
Alan Lloyd Hodgkin
(1970) Lord Todd (1975) Andrew Huxley
Andrew Huxley
(1980) George Porter
George Porter
(1985) Sir Michael Atiyah
Michael Atiyah
(1990) Sir Aaron Klug
Aaron Klug

21st century

Robert May (2000) Martin Rees (2005) Sir Paul Nurse
Paul Nurse
(2010) Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 24591712 LCCN: n80138214 ISNI: 0000 0001 1022 7020 GND: 116274646 SUDOC: 076149617 BNF: cb105191491 (data) BPN: 61402825 NLA: 35712473 NKC: ola2002142375 ICCU: ITICCULIAV44469 BNE: XX1507974 CiNii: DA02025