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Portrait of Sir George Airy, Astronomer Royal

Portrait of Sir George Airy, Astronomer Royal

H401/0138

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Credit

GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

George Airy. Portrait of the English astronomer Sir George Biddell Airy (1801-92). Airy graduated top of his class from Cambridge, England, in 1823 and was made Astronomer Royal in 1835. He modernized the Greenwich Observatory, bringing it up to the highest standards. Although an excellent organiser and theoretician, Airy was sometimes embarrassed by his opinions. He refused to believe in Faraday's 'lines of force' and missed Neptune's discovery due to his views on Adams' data. However, he did make advances in telescope design and produced the first spectacle lenses to correct astigmatism. He was knighted in 1872. Taken from the 1877 volume of Men of Mark and Distinction.

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