Minggu, 06 September 2009

Sir John Herschel


Astronomer, Mathematician, Photographer (7-Mar-1792 — 11-May-1871)
AKA John Frederick William Herschel, Born: 7-Mar-1792, Birthplace: Slough, Buckinghamshire, England
Died: 11-May-1871, Location of death: Collingwood, Kent, England, Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Westminster Abbey, London, England, Gender: Male, Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight, Occupation: Astronomer, Mathematician, Photographer
Nationality: England, Executive summary: Discovered many moons of Saturn

John Herschel began to undertake work in astronomy from this time although he also studied other topics. Even before his first astronomy paper was published, Herschel published details of his chemical and photography experiments in 1819 which, 20 years later, would prove of fundamental importance in the development of photography. He was very much involved with the founding of the Astronomical Society in 1820 and he was elected vice-president at the second meeting of the Society when the officers of the Society were elected. Herschel's great versatility is shown by the fact that in 1821, having recently become involved in astronomy and chemistry, he was awarded the Copley Medal of the Royal Society of London for his work on mathematical analysis.

Before mentioning the stages that led to the development of photography, there is one amazing, quite uncanny prediction made by a man called de la Roche (1729- 1774) in a work called Giphantie. In this imaginary tale, it was possible to capture images from nature, on a canvas which had been coated with a sticky substance. This surface, so the tale goes, would not only provide a mirror image on the sticky canvas, but would remain on it. After it had been dried in the dark the image would remain permanent. The author would not have known how prophetic this tale would be, only a few decades after his death.

There are two distinct scientific processes that combine to make photography possible. It is somewhat surprising that photography was not invented earlier than the 1830s, because these processes had been known for quite some time. It was not until the two distinct scientific processes had been put together that photography came into being.

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