The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Davidson, George

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DAVIDSON, George, American astronomer: b. Nottingham, England, 9 May 1825; d. 1911. He came to the United States in 1832; was graduated at the Central High School, Philadelphia, in 1845; and joined the United States Coast Survey. While in this service he was chief engineer of a party which surveyed a ship canal route across the Isthmus of Darien. He also made a geographical survey of the coast of Alaska in 1867. He traveled extensively in Egypt, China, India and Europe, for purposes of scientific study and also took charge of the telegraph-longitude work, and of the main triangulation and astronomical party carrying the geodetic work across the continent. From 1877-84 he was regent of the University of California, and for many years was president of the California Academy of Sciences. He retired from the coast survey after 50 years of distinguished service, in 1895, and became professor of geography in the University of California. He published ‘The Alaska Boundary’ (1903); ‘The Glaciers of Alaska’ (1904); ‘The Discovery of San Francisco Bay’ (1907); ‘Francis Drake on the Northwest Coast of America’ (1908); ‘Origin and Meaning of the Name California’ (1910).