The Plumian chair of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy is one of the major Professorships in Astronomy at Cambridge University, alongside the Lowndean Professorship (which is now mainly held by mathematicians). The chair is currently held at the Institute of Astronomy in the University. The Plumian chair was founded in 1704 by Thomas Plume, a member of Christ's and Archdeacon of Rochester, to "erect an Observatory and to maintain a studious and learned Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy, and to buy him and his successors utensils and instruments quadrants telescopes etc."
Astronomy is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It uses mathematics, physics, and chemistry in order to explain their origin and evolution. Objects of interest include planets, moons, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and comets. Relevant phenomena include supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, quasars, blazars, pulsars, and cosmic microwave background radiation. More generally, astronomy studies everything that originates outside Earth's atmosphere. Cosmology is a branch of astronomy. It studies the Universe as a whole.
The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two 'ancient universities' share many common features and are often referred to jointly as 'Oxbridge'. The academic standards, history, influence and wealth of the University of Cambridge has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
The Lowndean chair of Astronomy and Geometry is one of the two major Professorships in Astronomy at Cambridge University, alongside the Plumian Professorship. It was founded in 1749 by Thomas Lowndes, an astronomer from Overton in Cheshire.
Trustees were appointed, and statutes drawn up by Isaac Newton, John Flamsteed and John Ellys.The first Professorship was awarded in 1707 to Roger Cotes, a former student of Newton, and the stipend was increased in 1768 by Dr Robert Smith, the second Plumian Professor.
Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics, and shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus.
John Flamsteed FRS was an English astronomer and the first Astronomer Royal. His main achievements were the preparation of a 3,000-star catalogue, Catalogus Britannicus, and a star atlas called Atlas Coelestis, both published posthumously. He also made the first recorded observations of Uranus, although he mistakenly catalogued it as a star, and he laid the foundation stone for the Royal Greenwich Observatory.
Sir John Ellys or Ellis (1634?–1716) was an English academic, Master of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge from 1703.
The Lucasian Chair of Mathematics is a mathematics professorship in the University of Cambridge, England; its holder is known as the Lucasian Professor. The post was founded in 1663 by Henry Lucas, who was Cambridge University's Member of Parliament from 1639–1640, and it was officially established by King Charles II on 18 January 1664. It was described by The Daily Telegraph as one of the most prestigious academic posts in the world and its former holders include Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage, George Stokes, Joseph Larmor, Paul Dirac and Stephen Hawking.
John Couch Adams was a British mathematician and astronomer. He was born in Laneast, near Launceston, Cornwall, and died in Cambridge.
Sir George Biddell Airy 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.
Roger Cotes FRS was an English mathematician, known for working closely with Isaac Newton by proofreading the second edition of his famous book, the Principia, before publication. He also invented the quadrature formulas known as Newton–Cotes formulas and first introduced what is known today as Euler's formula. He was the first Plumian Professor at Cambridge University from 1707 until his death.
The Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity is the oldest professorship at the University of Cambridge. It was founded initially as a readership by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, in 1502.
Robert Smith was an English mathematician.
James Challis FRS was an English clergyman, physicist and astronomer. Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy and the director of the Cambridge Observatory, he investigated a wide range of physical phenomena though made few lasting contributions outside astronomy. He is best remembered for his missed opportunity to discover the planet Neptune in 1846.
Regius Professorship of History is one of the senior chairs in history at the University of Cambridge. It was founded in 1724 by George I as the Regius Professorship of Modern History.
The Regius Professorship of Physic is one of the oldest professorships at the University of Cambridge, founded by Henry VIII in 1540. "Physic" is an old word for medicine , not physics.
The Knightbridge Professorship of Philosophy is the senior professorship in philosophy at the University of Cambridge. There have been 22 Knightbridge professors, the incumbent being Rae Langton.
Sir Harold Jeffreys, FRS was a British mathematician, statistician, geophysicist, and astronomer. His book, Theory of Probability, which first appeared in 1939, played an important role in the revival of the objective Bayesian view of probability.
The Yusuf Hamied 1702 Chair of Chemistry is one of the senior professorships at the University of Cambridge, based in the Department of Chemistry.
The Institute of Astronomy (IoA) is the largest of the three astronomy departments in the University of Cambridge, and one of the largest astronomy sites in the UK. Around 180 academics, postdocs, visitors and assistant staff work at the department.
Leon Mestel was a British astronomer and astrophysicist and Emeritus Professor at the University of Sussex. His research interests were in the areas of star formation and structure, especially stellar magnetism and astrophysical magnetohydrodynamics. He was awarded both the Eddington Medal (1993) and the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. Following his retirement, he wrote several obituaries and biographical articles on physicists and astrophysicists.
Edward John Routh, was an English mathematician, noted as the outstanding coach of students preparing for the Mathematical Tripos examination of the University of Cambridge in its heyday in the middle of the nineteenth century. He also did much to systematise the mathematical theory of mechanics and created several ideas critical to the development of modern control systems theory.
The planet Neptune was mathematically predicted before it was directly observed. With a prediction by Urbain Le Verrier, telescopic observations confirming the existence of a major planet were made on the night of September 23–24, 1846, at the Berlin Observatory, by astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle, working from Le Verrier's calculations. It was a sensational moment of 19th-century science, and dramatic confirmation of Newtonian gravitational theory. In François Arago's apt phrase, Le Verrier had discovered a planet "with the point of his pen".
William Lax was an English astronomer and mathematician who served as Lowndean Professor of Astronomy and Geometry at the University of Cambridge for 41 years.