Moseley, Henry (1801-1872) (DNB00)

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MOSELEY, HENRY (1801–1872), mathematician, the son of Dr. William Willis Moseley, who kept a large private school at Newcastle-under-Lyne, and his wife Margaret (née Jackson), was born on 9 July 1801. He was sent at an early age to the grammar school of the town, and when fifteen or sixteen to a school at Abbeville. Afterwards he attended for a short time a naval school at Portsmouth, and while there wrote his first paper 'On measuring the Depth of the Cavities seen on the Surface of the Moon' (Tilloch's Phil. Mag. lii. 1818). In 1819 Moseley went to St. John's College, Cambridge. He graduated B.A. in 1826, coming out seventh wrangler, and proceeded M.A. in 1836. In 1870 he was made LL.D. hon. causa.

Moseley was ordained deacon in 1827 and priest in 1828, and became curate at West Monkton, near Taunton. There, in the intervals of his clerical duties, he devoted himself to mathematics, and wrote his first book, 'A Treatise on Hydrostatics,' 8vo, Cambridge, 1830. On 20 Jan. 1831 he was appointed 'Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and Astronomy' at King's College, London, and he held the post till 12 Jan. 1844, when he was appointed one of the first of H. M. inspectors of normal schools. He was also chaplain of King's College from 31 Oct. 1831 to 8 Nov. 1833. As one of the jurors of the International Exhibition of 1851 he came under the notice of the prince consort, and in 1853 he was presented to a residential canonry in Bristol Cathedral; in 1854 became vicar of Olveston, Gloucestershire, and was appointed chaplain in ordinary to her majesty in 1855. He died at Olveston 20 Jan. 1872. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in February 1839. He was also a corresponding member of the Institute of France, a member of the Council of Military Education, and vice-president of the Institution of Naval Architects.

Moseley married, on 23 April 1835, Harriet, daughter of William Nottidge, esq., of Wandsworth Common, Surrey, by whom he was father of Henry Nottidge Moseley [q. v.]

Moseley's more important works were: 'Lectures on Astronomy,' delivered when professor at King's College (8vo, London, 1839, 4th edit. 1854); the article on 'Definite Integrals' in the 'Encyclopaedia Metropolitana,' 1837; and his well-known volume on 'The Mechanical Principles of Engineering and Architecture' (8vo, London, 1843, 2nd edit. 1855), which was reprinted in America with notes by Professor Mahan for the use of the Military School at West Point, and translated into German by Professor Schefler of Brunswick.

One of the most extensively useful results of Moseley's mathematical labours was the publication of the formulas by which the dynamical stabilities of all ships of war have since been calculated. These formulae first appeared in a memoir 'On the Dynamical Stability and on the Oscillations of Floating Bodies,' read before the Royal Society, and published in their 'Philosophical Transactions for 1850.' Later in life the observed motion of the lead on the roof of the Bristol Cathedral under changes of temperature caused him to advance the theory that the motion of glaciers might be similarly explained.

Besides the works already cited Moseley published: 1. 'Syllabus of a Course of Experimental Lectures on the Theory of Equilibrium,' 8vo, London, 1831. 2. 'A Treatise on Mechanics, applied to the Arts, including Statics and Hydrostatics,' 8vo, London, 1834 ; 3rd edit. 1847. 3. 'Illustrations of Mechanics,' 8vo, London, 1839. 4. 'Theoretical and Practical Papers on Bridges,' 8vo, London, 1843 (Weale's Series, 'Bridges,' vol. i.) 5. 'Astro-Theology . . . 2nd edit.' 8vo, London, 1851, 3rd edit. 1860; this first appeared in a series of articles in the 'Church of England Magazine' for 1838. Some thirty-five papers on natural philosophy were written by him, and appeared in the 'Philosophical Magazine,' the 'Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society,' the 'Philosophical Transactions,' the 'British Association Reports,' and other journals.

[Information kindly supplied by Moseley's daughters, Mrs. Ludlow and Mrs. Hardy, and by the secretary, King's College, London; Memoir in Trans. Institution of Naval Architects, xiii. 328-30; Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1872: Brit. Mus. Cat.; Roy. Soc. Cat.]

B. B. W.