Lax, William (DNB00)

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LAX, WILLIAM (1761–1836), astronomer, was born in 1761, graduated in 1786 from Trinity College, Cambridge, as senior wrangler and first Smith's prizeman, was elected a fellow of his college, and proceeded M.A. in 1788. He succeeded Dr. Smith in 1795 as Lowndes's professor of astronomy and geometry in the university of Cambridge, and after some years spent in tuition was presented by Trinity College to the livings of Marsworth, Buckinghamshire, and of St. Ippolyts in Hertfordshire, where he built a small observatory. He died at the vicarage of St. Ippolvts on 29 Oct. 1836, aged 75. He published in 1807 'Remarks on a supposed Error in the Elements of Euclid;' and his 'Tables to be used with the Nautical Almanac ' were printed by the board of longitude in 1821, and in a new edition in 1834. To the Royal Society, of which he was elected a fellow in 1796, he communicated, in 1799 and 1808 respectively, papers on 'A Method of finding the Latitude of 4 Place by means of two Altitudes of the Sun,' and 'On a Method of examining the Divisions of Astro- mical Instruments' (Phil. Trans, lxxxix. 74, xcix. 232).

[Ann. Reg. 1836, p. 218; Proc. of the Royal Society, iii. 438; Le Neve's Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

A. M. C.