Matthew Fontaine Maury, US oceanographer

Matthew Fontaine Maury, US oceanographer

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Credit: GEORGE BERNARD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873), American naval officer, meteorologist and oceanographer. Ending his naval career in 1839 due to a leg injury, he became the director of the US Naval Observatory and Hydrographic Office due to his publication Treatise on Navigation (1836). While at this post he ignored astronomical work, instead emphasizing the study of oceanography and meteorology. Maury is described as the father of oceanography, having written one of the earliest works on the topic, The Physical Geography of the Sea (1855). He also published Wind and Current pilot charts that shortened sea journeys considerably, and a Bathymetrical Map of the North Atlantic Basin.

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