Popular Science Monthly/Volume 46/March 1895/Obituary Notes

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The science of astronomy lost three of its most devoted servants during December, 1894. The first was Dr. Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Peters, Director of the Königsberg Observatory, who died December 2d. He was a son of Prof. C. A. Peters, and was born in 1844 at the Pulkowa Observatory. Having studied at Berlin, Kiel, Munich, and Göttingen, he was made a member of the staff of the Hamburg, then of the Altona, and then of the Kiel Observatories, and finally, in 1883, Director of the Königsberg Observatory and Professor of Astronomy in the university. His name is associated with valuable work in pendulum observations; chronometer tests for the determination of the influence of magnetism and atmospheric moisture on the daily rate; and calculations of the orbits of the planet Sylvia, of several comets, and of the double star 61 Cygni. His labors in astronomical literature were considerable, and included the publication of numerous popular papers and the editing of important books.

Father Francesco Denza, who died in Rome, December 14th, was Director of the Vatican Observatory: He was born in 1834, entered the order of Reformed Franciscans and afterward of Barnabites; showed himself very proficient in mathematics at college; and, combining his favorite studies with his theological course at Rome, became a pupil of Father Secchi in astronomy and meteorology. He was active in promoting the study of meteorology in Italy; invented several meteorological instruments; determined the magnetic elements at various places in Italy, Dalmatia, and Africa; observing meteors, he furnished the materials from which Prof. Schiaparelli deduced his theory of those bodies; adapted the Vatican Observatory to the requirements of modern astronomy, and took part there in the international work of charting the heavens; and wrote a volume entitled The Harmony of the Heavens, besides many papers on meteorology and physics.

Arthur Cowper Ranyard, editor of Knowledge, died at his home in Bloomsbury, London, on the same day with Father Denza, December 14th. He was born in 1845, and was a pupil of Prof. De Morgan. He was trained to the law, but his strong attachment to mathematics and astronomy prevailed. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society when only eighteen years old. He co-operated with George De Morgan in founding the London Mathematical Society, and became one of the honorary secretaries of it. He was a member of the Council of the Royal Astronomical Society and honorary secretary for six years. He was predominantly interested in solar physics and astronomical photography; undertook three different expeditions at his own expense to observe the solar corona during eclipses; was also diligent in the study of the structure of the stellar universe. Results of his devotion to these fields of research are seen in the Old and New Astronomy, which he completed after Mr. Proctor's death, and in the pages of Knowledge, where he struck out a line for himself and which fairly shone with its reproductions of solar photographs.

Dr. F. B. Hawkins, one of the oldest members of the medical profession in England, and a member of the Royal Society of sixty years' standing, died December 7th, at the age of ninety-eight years.

Prof. Lewis R. Gibbs, of the College of Charleston, S. C, died November 21, 1894, aged eighty-four years, he having been born in August, 1810. He had been a professor in the College of Charleston from 1838 to 1892, or about fifty-four years — first, of mathematics, afterward of astronomy, chemistry, and physics. Previous to 1838 he had been tutor in mathematics in South Carolina College, and had afterward studied in Europe. From 1848 to 1853 he was engaged by the United States Coast Survey to make observations for determining the difference of longitude between Charleston and Washington, D. C, Charleston and Savannah, Ga., and Charleston and Raleigh, N. C. Beginning with 1858, he wrote articles en subjects connected with astronomy, natural history, etc., for various publications, among which were the Charleston Mercury, the Boston Journal of Natural History, the Proceedings of the American Association, the Charleston Courier, the Proceedings of the Elliott Society of Natural History of Charleston, and the Canadian Entomologist. An article on the Occultator, published in the American Journal of Science, March, 1869, was reprinted in journals in England and France. While his favorite study was astronomy, he was at home in almost every branch of modern science.