🔎 Simon Newcomb – Definition and Explanations



Simone Newcomb
Birth March 12, 1835
Wallace (Nova Scotia)
Death July 11, 1909 (at the age of 74)
Washington, DC (United States)
Nationality American United States United States
Fields Astronomer (An astronomer is a scientist who specializes in the study of astronomy.), Mathematical (A mathematician is strictly speaking a researcher in mathematics, by extension everything …)
Graduate Harvard University (Harvard University, or more simply Harvard, is a …)
Famous for His work on theLight year (The light year (symbol al, formerly light year) is a unit of distance …)
Honors Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal
Copley Medal (The Copley Medal is an award in science. It is the …)
Legion of Honor

Simone Newcomb (March 12, 1835 in Wallace, Nova Scotia, Canada – July 11, 1909 in Washington, DC) was an American astronomer, mathematician, economist, and statistician of Canadian descent, also author of a novel by science (Science (Latin scientia, “knowledge”) is, according to the dictionary …) fiction.


Son of Emily Prince and a traveling teacher, John Burton Newcomb, Simon Newcomb studies the mathematics (Mathematics is an abstract knowledge field built using …) and the physicist (Physics (from the Greek φυσις, nature) is etymologically the …) in self-taught (A self-taught person is a person who has learned by himself, outside the institutions …)he funded himself by teaching before becoming a computer at Nautical Almanac Office in Cambridge (Massachusetts) in 1857. At the same time he studied al Lorenzo Scientific School of the’University (A university is a higher education institution whose goal is the …) Harvard and gets his first diploma (The diploma (ancient Greek: δίπλωµα, diploma …) in 1858.

As a prelude to the Civil War, many members of the United States Navy with Confederate sympathies left the service and Newcomb thus obtained in 1861 a position as a mathematician and astronomer at theUnited States (The United States is an ocean liner built in 1952; it is the largest ever built in …) Naval (Naval is a municipality in the province of Biliran on the island of Biliran in the Philippines.) Washington Observatory. Newcomb is working to measure the position of the planets as an aid navigation (Navigation is the science and the set of techniques that allow you to 🙂 and he became increasingly interested in theories of planetary motion.

The moment Newcomb visits Paris (Paris is a French city, capital of France and capital of the region …) as early as 1870 he knows that the tables of the lunar positions calculated by Peter Andreas Hansen contain errors. He realizes that there isParis Observatory (The Paris Observatory was born from the project, in 1667, to create an astronomical observatory …)furthermore data (In information technology (IT), data is an elementary description, often …) used by Hansen between 1750 and 1838, data dating back to 1672. His visit, disturbed by the defeat of Napoleon III in the Franco-German war of 1870 and by the coup d’état, however, did not allow him to analyze them. He managed to escape during the riots that precede the Municipality. It is then possible for him to use the “new” data to correct the tables.

He was offered the direction of Harvard College Observatory in 1875, but refused, preferring to devote himself to mathematics rather than science.observation (Observation is the action of a careful following of phenomena, without the will to see them …).

In 1877 he became director of the Nautical Almanac Officewhere, assisted by George William Hill, he launched a program to recalculate the main astronomical constants and became a professor of mathematics andastronomy (Astronomy is the science of observing the stars, trying to explain …) at Johns Hopkins University. He draws with Arthur Matthew Weld Downing a plan to resolve discrepancies between the values ​​of these constants. In May 1896 he attended a conference in Paris, where the international consensus was that all ephemeris must be based on those calculated by Newcomb. Another conference in the 1950s confirmed Newcomb’s constants as an international standard.

In 1878, Newcomb began working on view (Sight is the sense that allows us to observe and analyze the environment through reception and …) to more precisely determine the light speed (The speed of light in vacuum, denoted by c (for …), necessary for the determination of many astronomical constants. He has already begun to refine the method used by Leon Foucault (Jean Bernard Léon Foucault, born in Paris on 18 September 1819 and died in …) when he receives a letter from the young naval officer e physicist (A physicist is a scientist who studies the field of physics, that is ….) Albert Michelson, who also began experimenting to get a precise value for this constant. In 1880, Michelson attended Newcomb’s first bars with instruments located in Fort Myer and the United States Naval Observatory, then located near the Potomac. Michelson for his part continues his measurements between the observatory and the Washington monument (The Washington Monument is a monument to George Washington, erected in …), while Newcomb embarks on a second series. Michelson published his first results in 1880, but they differed significantly from Newcomb’s. In 1883 Michelson revised them and established values ​​closer to Newcomb’s.

In 1881 Newcomb discovered the principle statistical (A statistic is, at first glance, a number calculated on a sample ….) known as Benford’s law (Benford’s law, also called the law of abnormal numbers, is not of …), realizing that the first pages of the logarithmic tables are more worn than the following pages. This leads him to formulate the principle that for any list of numbers taken in a together (In set theory, a set intuitively designates a collection …) arbitrary data, more numbers tend to have their prime figure (A digit is a symbol used to represent numbers.) equal to one.

In 1891 Seth Carlo Chandler (Chandler is an English surname that comes from a profession (the word chandler designates the one or …) discovers a variation of latitude (Latitude is an angular value, an expression of the north-south positioning of a point on Earth …) with a periodicity of 433 days (The day or day is the interval between sunrise and sunset; it is the …), known today as the Chandler movement. Around 1765, Leonardo Euler (Leonhard Paul Euler, born April 15, 1707 in Basel and died on …) he had foreseen this move (In geometry, a displacement is a similarity that preserves distances and angles …) from the polo, but with a period of 305 days. His theory (The word theory comes from the Greek theorein, which means “to contemplate, observe, …) was based on the idea of ​​a perfectly rigid body, while the Land (Earth is the third planet in the Solar System in order of distance …) it is slightly elastic. Newcomb estimates that this stiffness is slightly higher than that of thesteel (Steel is a metal alloy used in the construction sectors …) and thus manages to reconcile the conflict between observations and theory.

Newcomb is self-taught and multifaceted. His Principles of political economy (1885) was described by John Maynard Keynes as “one of those works that a mind scientific (A scientist is a person who devotes himself to the study of one or more sciences and who …) original, which has not been perverted by too many academic readings, can produce in a field that is still halfway like economics ”. Newcomb speaks French, German, Italian and Swedish. He is also a mountaineer. He reads a lot and publishes several popular science works as well as a novel by science fiction (Science fiction, pronounced /sjɑ̃s.fik.sjɔ̃/ (abbreviated to …), His wisdom the defender (1900).

Newcomb’s grave in Arlington Cemetery

Newcomb dies in Washington of a bladder cancer (The inner wall of the bladder is lined with transitional cells found at …) and is buried with honors in Arlington National Cemetery. President William Howard Taft attends his funeral.

It has often been said that Newcomb would have declared that it is impossible for a heavier than theair (Air is the mixture of gases that make up the earth’s atmosphere. It is odorless and …) fly when he actually criticized the work of Samuel Pierpont Langley, who believed that a airplane (An aircraft, according to the official definition of the International Civil Aviation Organization …) could be powered by a steam engine (The steam engine is an invention whose most significant evolutions date back to …). Newcomb believed that if heavier than air it could fly, the power (The word power is used in several fields with a particular meaning 🙂 developed (In geometry, the evolution of a plane curve is the locus of its centers of …) from a car steam () compared to his weight (Weight is the force of gravity, of gravitational and inertial origin, exerted by …) would make its use more than problematic. «It is probable that the twentieth century (A century is now a period of a hundred years. The word comes from the Latin saeculum, i, which …) it is intended to see the natural forces from which they will allow us to fly continent (The word continent derives from the Latin continere to “hold together”, or continens …) to the mainland with a speed (We stand out 🙂 far superior to that of birds. But when we ask ourselves if air travel is possible, to the state of our knowledge, with the materials (A material is a material of natural or artificial origin that man shapes to …) that we know, a combination (A combination can be 🙂 steel, cobwebs and steam, the answer is everything (The whole understood as the whole of what exists is often interpreted as the world or …) done different (In mathematics, the different is defined in the algebraic theory of …). “


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