1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lamont, Johann von

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LAMONT, JOHANN VON (1805–1879), Scottish-German astronomer and magnetician, was born at Braemar, Aberdeenshire, on the 13th of December 1805. He was sent at the age of twelve to be educated at the Scottish monastery in Regensburg, and apparently never afterwards returned to his native country. His strong bent for scientific studies was recognized by the head of the monastery, P. Deasson, on whose recommendation he was admitted in 1827 to the then new observatory of Bogenhausen (near Munich), where he worked under J. Soldner. After the death of his chief in 1835 he was, on H. C. Schumacher’s recommendation, appointed to succeed him as director of the observatory. In 1852 he became professor of astronomy at the university of Munich, and held both these posts till his death, which took place on the 6th of August 1879. Lamont was a member of the academies of Brussels, Upsala and Prague, of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, of the Cambridge Philosophical Society and of many other learned corporations. Among his contributions to astronomy may be noted his eleven zone-catalogues of 34,674 stars, his measurements, in 1836–1837, of nebulae and clusters, and his determination of the mass of Uranus from observations of its satellites (Mem. Astron. Soc. xi. 51, 1838). A magnetic observatory was equipped at Bogenhausen in 1840 through his initiative; he executed comprehensive magnetic surveys 1849–1858; announced the magnetic decennial period in 1850, and his discovery of earth-currents in 1862. His Handbuch des Erdmagnetismus (Berlin, 1849) is a standard work on the subject.

See Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (S. Günther); V. J. Schrift, Astr. Gesellschaft, xv. 60; Monthly Notices Roy. Astr. Society, xl. 203; Nature, xx. 425; Quart. Journal Meteor. Society, vi. 72; Proceedings Roy. Society of Edinburgh, x. 358; The Times (12 Aug., 1879); Sir F. Ronalds’s Cat. of Books relating to Electricity and Magnetism, pp. 281-283; Royal Society’s Cat. of Scientific Papers, vols. iii. vii.