Wednesday, May 24, 2017

José de Acosta

José de Acosta (1539 or 1540, Medina del Campo, Spain – February 15, 1600, Salamanca, Spain) was a sixteenth-century Spanish Jesuit missionary and naturalist in Latin America.

José de Acosta was born at Medina del Campo in Spain, where his parents lived in this city of the plain, about twenty-four miles from Valladolid, in Old Castile, on the left bank of the swampy river Zapardiel, and overlooked by the old castle of La Mota. He was of converso background,[2] His parents had five sons, Gerónimo, Christóval, José, Diego, and Bernardo. The Acosta brothers were fellow townsmen of the old soldier Bernal Diaz, who told the story of the conquest of Mexico, but they were many years younger than him. In 1553, at the age of thirteen, Acosta became a novice in the Society of Jesus in Medina del Campo. Four Acosta brothers joined this order. Before leaving Spain, José was lecturer in theology at Ocana, and in April 1569, was to be sent to Lima, Peru, where the Jesuits had been established in the proceeding year. According to one scholar, Acosta was "a heavy man of uncertain, melancholic temper."

At age 32, Acosta left Spain with several other Jesuits in 1570, landing at Cartagena de Indias, and finally at Nombre de Dios, then journeyed through 18 leagues of tropical forest. He was impressed by the scenery, the novel sights at every turn, and was interested, at Capira, in the clever antics of troops of monkeys. From Panama he embarked for Peru to pursue missionary work. He expected to experience unbearably intense heat in crossing the equator, but found it to be so cool in March, that he laughed at Aristotle and his philosophy.

On his arrival at Lima, he was ordered to cross the Andes, apparently to join the Viceroy of Peru in the interior. He took the route, with fourteen or fifteen companions, across the mountainous province of Huarochiri, and by the lofty pass of Pariacaca [over 14,000 ft.], where the whole party suffered severely from the effects of the rarefied atmosphere. Acosta describes these sufferings, which were to be repeated on the three other occasions of crossing the cordillera. Acosta was one of the earliest people to give a detailed description of altitude sickness, a variety of which is referred to as Acosta's disease. He also mentions an attack of snow blindness and the way in which an Indian woman cured him.

Acosta had arrived in Peru two years after Don Francisco de Toledo had come out as Viceroy in 1568. Following Toledo's beheading of the Inca Túpac Amaru, the Viceroy devoted five years to a tour through every part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, and to settlement of the country, in which he was aided by Acosta, the Licentiate Polo de Ondegardo, and the Judge Matienza. Acosta also accompanied the Viceroy to Charcas, and was with him during his unsuccessful expedition against the fierce Chirihuana Indians.

The principal seat of the Jesuits was at that time in the little town of Juli, near the western shores of Lake Titicaca. Here a college was formed, the languages of the natives were studied, and eventually a printing press was established. Acosta probably resided at Juli during much of his stay in Peru. It was here, in all likelihood, that he observed the famous comet of 1577, from November 1 to December 8, which extended like a fiery plume from the horizon nearly to the zenith. Here, too, he devoted much of his time to the preparation of several learned works, which he later took back to Spain in manuscript, including the first two books of the Natural History of the Indies. At Juli, Father Acosta received information respecting the Amazon river from a brother who had formerly been in the famous piratical cruise of Lope de Aguirre.

Towards the close of the viceroyalty of Toledo, Father Acosta appears to have moved from the interior of Peru to Lima. Here he mentions superintending the casting of a great bell, for which there was difficulty in getting fuel for the furnace, making it necessary to fell great trees in the Rímac River valley. Viceroy Toledo was practically the founder of the University of St. Mark at Lima, where Acosta was to occupy the chair of theology. Here he was again able to display his abilities as a famed orator.

In 1571 José went to Cuzco as a visitor of the recently founded college of the Jesuits. He returned to Lima three years later to again fill the chair of theology, and was elected provincial in 1576.

In 1579 Sir Francis Drake was on the coast, and the Viceroy dispatched a fleet under Don Pedro Sarmiento, partly to chase the English pirate, and partly to explore and survey the Strait of Magellan. Acosta had conversations with the pilot of Sarmiento's fleet, and was allowed to inspect his chart, thus obtaining much hydrographic information, and particulars respecting the tides in the straits. He also conversed with the new Viceroy Don Martín Henríquez on the same subject.

Acosta founded a number of colleges, among them those of Arequipa, Potosí, Chuquisaca, Panama and La Paz, but met with considerable opposition from the Viceroy Toledo. His official duties obliged him to investigate personally a very extensive range of territory, so that he acquired a practical knowledge of the vast province, and of its aboriginal inhabitants. At the 1582 session of the Third Council of Lima, Father Acosta played a very important part and was its historian. He delivered an eloquent and learned oration at its last sitting on October 18, 1583.

Shortly after the Third Council of Lima, he embarked with all his manuscripts, the literary labors of fifteen years, and commenced his voyage to Mexico. During the passage he was a shrewd observer of nature and knowledge seeker. He learned from an expert Portuguese pilot that there were four points of no variation on the earth, and that one of them was Corvo Island in the Azores. Acosta landed at the port of Guatulco, at the western end of the Gulf of Tehuantepec, in the Oaxaca province, then journeyed by land to Mexico City, where he resided in 1586. He had opportunities of which he diligently availed himself for collecting information touching the civilization, religion and of the Aztecs and natural products of this country. His chief informant respecting the rites and festivals of the Mexicans was brother and Prebendary, Juan de Tobar.

Return to Spain
Acosta had been called to Spain by the King in 1585, prior to being detained in Mexico. He sailed home to Spain in the fleet of 1587, which contained a precious cargo, including twelve chests of gold each weighing 100 lbs., 11,000,000 pieces of silver, and two chests of emeralds each weighing 100 lbs., in addition to loads of ginger, sarsparilla, Brazil wood and animal hides. In Spain he filled the chair of theology at the Roman college in 1594, head of the Jesuits College at Valladolid, as well as other important positions. At the time of his death in his 60th year, he was rector of the college at Salamanca.


Aside from his publication of the proceedings of the provincial councils of 1567 and 1583, and several works of exclusively theological import, Acosta is best known as the writer of De Natura Novi Orbis, De promulgatione Evangelii apud Barbaros, sive De Procuranda Indorum salute and above all, the Historia natural y moral de las Indias. The first two appeared at Salamanca in 1588, the last at Seville in 1590, and was soon after its publication translated into various languages. It is chiefly the Historia natural y moral that has established the reputation of Acosta, as this was one of the very first detailed and realistic descriptions of the New World. In a form more concise than that employed by his predecessors, Francisco Lopez de Gómara and Oviedo, he treated the natural and philosophic history of the New World from a broader point of view. In it, more than a century before other Europeans learned of the Bering Strait, Acosta hypothesized that Latin America's indigenous peoples had migrated from Asia. He also divided them into three barbarian categories. The Historia also described Inca and Aztec customs and history, as well as other information such as winds and tides, lakes, rivers, plants, animals, and mineral resources in the New World.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

George Lemaître

Belgian Catholic priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Leuven. He proposed the theory of the expansion of the universe, widely misattributed to Edwin Hubble. He was the first to derive what is now known as Hubble’s law and made the first estimation of what is now called the Hubble constant, which he published in 1927, two years before Hubble’s article. Lemaître also proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe, which he called his “hypothesis of the primeval atom” or the “Cosmic Egg”.

Lemaître began studying civil engineering at the Catholic University of Leuven at the age of 17. In 1914, he interrupted his studies to serve as a Belgian artillery officer in WW I, receiving the Belgian War Cross with palms.

After the war, he studied physics and mathematics, and began to prepare for diocesan priesthood. He obtained his doctorate in 1920 with a thesis entitled l’Approximation des fonctions de plusieurs variables réelles (Approximation of functions of several real variables), written under the direction of Charles de la Vallée-Poussin. He was ordained a priest in 1923 and  became a graduate student in astronomy at the University of Cambridge, spending a year at St Edmund’s House (now St Edmund’s College, Cambridge). Arthur Eddington taught him modern cosmology, stellar astronomy, and numerical analysis. He spent the next year at Harvard College Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Harlow Shapley, who had just gained renown for his work on nebulae, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he registered for the doctoral program in sciences.

In 1925, on his return to Belgium, he became a part-time lecturer at the Catholic University of Leuven. In 1927, he published an article in the little-known journal, Annales de la Société Scientifique de Bruxelles, under the title “Un Univers homogène de masse constante et de rayon croissant rendant compte de la vitesse radiale des nébuleuses extragalactiques” (“A homogeneous Universe of constant mass and growing radius accounting for the radial velocity of extragalactic nebulae”). In this report, he presented his a family of solutions to Einstein’s field equations that described an expanding universe, derived from General Relativity and later known as Hubble’s law, and provided the first observational estimation of the Hubble constant. While the article was not widely noticed, Arthur Eddington reportedly helped translate it into English in 1931, unfortunately omitting the article’s estimation of the “Hubble constant”. Lemaître returned to MIT to present his doctoral thesis. Upon obtaining what was now his second Ph.D., he was named ordinary professor at the Catholic University of Leuven.

In 1930, Eddington published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society a long commentary on Lemaître’s 1927 article, in which he described the latter as a “brilliant solution” to the outstanding problems of cosmology. The original paper was published in an abbreviated English translation in 1931, along with a sequel by Lemaître responding to Eddington’s comments. Lemaître was then invited to London to participate in a meeting of the British Association on the relation between the physical universe and spirituality. There he proposed that the universe expanded from an initial point, which he called the “Primeval Atom”. He developed this idea in a report published in Nature. Lemaître himself also described his theory as “the Cosmic Egg exploding at the moment of the creation”; it became better known as the “Big Bang theory,” a pejorative term coined during a 1949 BBC radio broadcast by the astronomer and atheist Fred Hoyle, who was then still a proponent of the steady state universe and remained so until his death in 2001. Hoyle would later convert to theism as a result of his own astrophysical work.

In 1931, Lemaitre was the first scientist to propose the expansion of the universe was actually accelerating which was confirmed observationally in the 1990s through observations of very distant Type IA supernova with the Hubble Space Telescope. In 1933, Lemaître found an important inhomogeneous solution of Einstein’s field equations describing a spherical dust cloud, the Lemaître–Tolman metric. Lemaître was also an early adopter of computers for cosmological calculations. He introduced the first computer to his university (a Burroughs E101) in 1958 and was one of the inventors of the Fast Fourier transform algorithm.  Among his many awards for outstanding science, he was given the inaugural Eddington Medal awarded by the Royal Astronomical Society. He died on 20 June 1966, shortly after having learned of the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation, which provided further evidence for his proposal about the birth of the universe. The fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle to the International Space Station was named Georges Lemaitre in his honor. He is the Father of Cosmology.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bernabé Cobo

Born at Lopera in Spain, 1582; died at Lima, Peru, 9 October, 1657. He went to America in 1596, visiting the Antilles and Venezuela and landing at Lima in 1599. Entering the Society of Jesus, 14 October, 1601, he was sent by his superiors in 1615 to the mission of Juli, where, and at Potosí, Cochabamba, Oruro, and La Paz, he laboured until 1618. He was rector of the college of Arequipa from 1618 until 1621, afterwards at Pisco, and finally at Callao in the same capacity, as late as 1630. He was then sent to Mexico, and remained there until 1650, when he returned to Peru. Such in brief was the life of a man whom the past centuries have treated with unparalleled, and certainly most ungrateful, neglect.

Father Cobo was beyond all doubt the ablest and most thorough student of nature and man in Spanish America during the seventeenth century. Yet, the first, and almost only, acknowledgement of his worth dates from the fourth year of the nineteenth century. The distinguished Spanish botanist Cavanilles not only paid a handsome tribute of respect to the memory of Father Cobo in an addressed delivered at the Royal Botanical Gardens of Madrid, in 1804, but he gave the name of Cobæa to a genus of plants belonging to the Bignoniaceæ of Mexico, Cobæa scandens being its most striking representative.

Cobo's long residence in both Americas (sixty-one years), his position as a priest and, several times, as a missionary, and the consequently close relations in which he stood to the Indians, as well as to Creoles and half-breeds, gave him unusual opportunities for obtaining reliable information, and he made the fullest use of these. We have from his pen, two works, one of which (and the most important) is, unfortunately, incomplete. It is also stated that he wrote a work on botany in ten volumes, which, it seems, is lost, or at least its whereabouts is unknown today. Of his main work, to which biographers give the title "Historia general de las Indias", and which he finished in 1653, only the first half is known and has appeared in print (four volumes, at Seville, 1890 and years succeeding). The remainder, in which he treats, or claims to have treated, of every geographical and political subdivision in detail, has either never been finished, or is lost. His other book appeared in print in 1882, and forms part of the "History of the New World" mentioned, but he made a separate manuscript of its in 1639, and so it became published as "Historia de la fundaciónde Lima", a few years before the publication of the principal manuscript.

"The History of the New World" places Cobo, as a chronicler and didactic writer, on a plane higher than that occupied by his contemporaries not to speak of his predecessors. It is not a dry and dreary catalogue of events; man appears in it on a stage, and that stage is a conscientious picture of the nature in which man has moved and moves. The value of this work for several branches of science (not only history) is much greater than is believed. The book, only recently published, is very little known and appreciated. The "History of the New World" may, in American literature, be compared with one work only, the "General and Natural history of the Indies" by Oviedo. But Oviedo wrote a full century earlier than Cobo, hence the resemblance is limited to the fact that both authors seek to include all Spanish America — its natural features as well as its inhabitants. The same may be said of Gomara and Acosta. Cobo enjoyed superior advantages and made good use of them. A century more of knowledge and experience was at his command. Hence we find in his book a wealth of information which no other author of his time imparts or can impart. And that knowledge is systematized and in a measure co-ordinated. On the animals and plants of the new continent, neither Nieremberg, nor Hernçndez, nor Monardes can compare in wealth of information with Cobo. In regard to man, his pre-Columbian past and vestiges, Cobo is, for the South American west coast, a source of primary importance. We are astonished at his many and close observations of customs and manners. His description of some of the principal ruins of South America are usually very correct. In a word it is evident from these two works of Cobo that he was an investigator of great perspicacity, and, for his time, a scientist of unusual merit.

Charles Plumier

A French botanist, born at Marseilles, 20 April, 1646; died at Puerto de Sta Maria near Cadiz, 20 November, 1704. At the age of sixteen he entered the order of the Minims. He devoted himself to the study of mathematics and physics, made physical instruments, and was an excellent draughtsman, painter, and turner. On being sent to the French monastery of Trinità dei Monti at Rome, Plumier studied botany with great zeal under two members of the order, and especially under the well-known Cistercian botanist, Paolo Boccone. After his return to France he became a pupil of Tournefort, whom he accompanied on botanical excursions. He also explored the coasts of Provence and Languedoc. His work, of permanent value for the science of botany, began in 1689, when, by order of the government, he accompanied Surian to the French Antilles. As this first journey proved very successful, Plumier was appointed royal botanist; in 1693, by command of Louis XIV, he made his second journey, and in 1695 his third journey to the Antilles and Central America. While in the West Indies he was greatly aided in his work by the Dominican Labat. In 1704, when about to start on his fourth journey, intending to visit the home of the true cinchona tree in Peru, he was taken ill with pleurisy and died. He is the most important of the botanical explorers of his time. All natural scientists of the eighteenth century spoke of him with admiration. According to Cuvier he was "perhaps the most industrious investigator of nature", while Haller said, "vir ad incrementum rei herbariæ natus" (a man born to extend the knowledge of botany). Tournefort and Linnæus named in his honour the genus Plumeria, which belongs to the family of the Apocynaceœ and is indigenous in about forty species to Central America; it is now called Plumiera with the name of Plumieroideœ for its first sub-family. Plumier accomplished all that he did in fifteen years (1689-1704); his labours resulted in collections, descriptions, and drawings.

His first work was, "Description des plantes de l'Amérique" (Paris, 1693); it contained 108 plates, half of which represented ferns. This was followed by "Nova plantarum americanarum genera" (Paris, 1703-04), with 40 plates; in this work about one hundred genera, with about seven hundred species, were redescribed. At a later date Linnæus adopted in his system, almost without change, these and other newly described genera arranged by Plumier. Plumier left a work in French and Latin ready to be printed entitled "Traité des fougères de l'Amérique" (Paris, 1705), which contained 172 excellent plates. The publication "Filicetum Americanum" (Paris, 1703), with 222 plates, was compiled from those already mentioned. Plumier also wrote another book of an entirely different character on turning, "L'Art de tourner" (Lyons, 1701; Paris, 1749); this was translated into Russian by Peter the Great; the manuscript of the translation is at St. Petersburg. At his death Plumier left thirty-one manuscript volumes containing descriptions, and about 6000 drawings, 4000 of which were of plants, while the remainder reproduced American animals of nearly all classes, especially birds and fish. The botanist Boerhave had 508 of these drawings copied at Paris; these were published later by Burmann, Professor of Botany at Amsterdam, under the title: "Plantarum americanarum, quas olim Carolus Plumierus detexit", fasc. I-X (Amsterdam, 1755-60), containing 262 plates. Plumier also wrote treatises for the "Journal des Savants" and for the "Mémoires de Trévoux". By his observations in Martinique, Plumier proved that the cochineal belongs to the animal kingdom and should be classed among the insects.

Marin Mersenne

French theologian, philosopher, and mathematician; b. 8 September, 1588, near Oizé (now Department of Sarthe); d. 1 September, 1648 at Paris.  Marin Mersenne was perhaps the most brilliant and the most unknown men of the 16th and 17th centuries. Born of peasant parents near Oizé, Maine (present day Sarthe, France). He was educated at Le Mans and at the Jesuit College of La Flèche,  where a lifelong friendship with Descartes, his fellow student, originated. On 17 July 1611, he joined the Minim Friars at Nigeon near Paris and, after studying theology and Hebrew in Paris, was ordained a priest in 1613. Between 1614 and 1618, he taught theology and philosophy at Nevers, but he returned to Paris and settled at the  Minim convent of L’Annonciade in 1619, where he lived for the rest of his life. 

There he studied mathematics and music. By 1626, he held weekly scientific discussions in the convent and met with other kindred spirits such as René Descartes, Étienne Pascal, Pierre Petit, Gilles de Roberval, Thomas Hobbes, and Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc. 

His first publications were theological and polemical studies against Atheism and Scepticism, but later, Mersenne devoted his time almost exclusively to science, making personal experimental researches, and publishing a number of works on mathematical sciences. 

His most remarkable personal trait was his ability to maintain close personal friendships with men who genuinely hated each other’s scientific ideas. In 1635 he set up the informal Académie Parisienne (Academia Parisiensis) which had nearly 140 correspondents including astronomers and philosophers as well as mathematicians. His network was the precursor of the of the Royal Society in London, founded in 1660, twelve years after Mersenne’s death  and the Parisian Académie des sciences established by Jean-Baptiste Colbert in 1666. The stimulus he gave to other writers in many fields — by posing problems, transmitting objections, supplying information, brokering contacts, prompting publication or indeed organizing it himself — was absolutely invaluable.

His chief merit was the encouragement which he gave to scientists of his time, the interest he took in their work, and the stimulating influence of his suggestions and questions. Gassendi and Galileo were among his friends; but, above all, Mersenne is known today as Descartes's friend and adviser. In fact, when Descartes began to lead a free and dissipated life, it was Mersenne who brought him back to more serious pursuits and directed him toward philosophy. In Paris, Mersenne was Descartes's assiduous correspondent, auxiliary, and representative, as well as his constant defender. The numerous and vehement attacks against the "Meditations" seem, for a moment, to have aroused Mersenne's suspicions; but Descartes's answers to his critics gave him full satisfaction as to his friend's orthodoxy and sincere Christian spirit.

Mersenne’s correspondance network of Europe’s top scientists, put him in communication with Giovanni Doni, Constantijn Huygens, Galileo Galilei, and other scholars in Italy, England and the Dutch Republic. He was a staunch defender of Galileo, assisting him in translations of some of his mechanical works, and spreading his discoveries throughout Europe. He disagreed with the views of skepticism, the idea that the world is completely unknowable. Instead, he asserted that knowledge should freely advance through experiment and observation, frequently chiding scholars for not including accurate experimental data in their paperr, while insisting that hypotheses are, at best, probable explanations. He argued that true physics could only be descriptive and strenuously fought the Rosicrucian ideas of the day. 

In mathematics, he discovered what are now known as Mersenne Primes. In astronomy, he discovered the telephoto effect, and was the first to establish both the two-mirror telescope and the afocal telescope, along with the beam compressor that is useful in many multiple-mirror scopes today. He demonstrated how to correct spherical aberration. His work on the pendulum was superior to even Galileo’s. 

But, it is his book, L’Harmonie universelle, that is his most influential work. It is one of the earliest comprehensive works on music theory, touching on a wide range of musical concepts, and especially the mathematical relationships involved in music. The work contains the earliest formulation of what has become known as Mersenne’s laws, which describe the frequency of oscillation of a stretched string.  For this work, he is known as the Father of Acoustics.

Mersenne's works are: "Quæstiones celeberrimæ in Genesim" (Paris, 1623), against Atheists and Deists; a part only has been published, the rest being still in manuscript, as also a "Commentary on St. Matthew's Gospel"; "L'impiété des déistes et des plus subtils libertins découverte et réfutée par raisons de théologie et de philosophie" (Paris, 1624); "La vérité des sciences contre les sceptiques et les pyrrhoniens" (Paris, 1625); "Questions theólogiques, physiques, morales et mathématiques" (Paris, 1634); "Questions inouïes, ou récréations des savants" (Paris, 1634); Les mécaniques de Galilée" (Paris, 1634), a translation from the Italian; "Harmonie universelle, contenant la théorie et la pratique de la musique" (Paris, 1936-7); "Nouvelles découvertes de Galilée", and "Nouvelles pensées de Galilée sur les mécaniques" (Paris, 1639), both translations; "Cogitata physico-mathematica" (Paris, 1644); "Euclidis elementorum libri, Apollonii Pergæ conica, Sereni de sectione coni, etc." (Paris, 1626), selections and translations of ancient mathematicians, published again later with notes and additions under the title, "Universæ geometriæ mixtæque mathematicæ synopsis" (Paris, 1644).

Mersenne asked that, after his death, an autopsy be made on his body, so as to serve to the last the interests of science.

Julian Edmund Tenison Woods

Priest and scientist, b. at Southwark, London, 15 Nov., 1832; d. at Sydney, New South Wales, 7 Oct., 1889, sixth son of James Dominick Woods, a lawyer, and Henrietta Mary St. Eloy (a convert), second daughter of Rev. Joseph Tenison, Rector of Donoughmore, Wicklow, Ireland. He was baptized in the Belgian Chapel, Southwark, and was confirmed by Bishop (later Cardinal) Wiseman; he was educated in a Catholic school at Hammersmith, and later at Newington Grammar School, Surrey. For a time he was employed on the staff of the "Times", and became interested in the work of the Catholic schools. In his eighteenth year he entered the Passionist novitiate, but, owing to ill-health, soon left. Going to the South of France he taught in Mont-Bel college for naval cadets at Toulon, where he developed a taste for geology and natural science.

In France he met Bishop Willson of Hobart Town, Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania), whom he accompanied thither in 1854 as assistant in the Catholic schools. Later he went to Adelaide, and became sub-editor of the "Adelaide Times". Meanwhile he studied with the Austrian Jesuits at Sevenhill and was ordained priest at St. Patrick's, Adelaide, on 4 January, 1857. A large tract of country in the south-eastern district, having Penola for a centre and extending over 22,000 square miles, was entrusted to his charge. To provide for the Catholic education of the children in his extensive parish he founded at Penola in 1866 the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, placing a Miss Mary MacKillop in charge of the first school. From this humble beginning the Sisters under Mother Mary (MacKillop) of the Cross have grown into the present flourishing congregation with numerous houses spread over Australia and New Zealand.

In 1866 Bishop Sheil of Adelaide appointed Father Woods his private secretary, chaplain and director-general of schools. In 1867 Sister Mary, later mother-general, advisedly opened the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph at Kensington near Norwood, Adelaide. She spent the whole of her religious life in Australia. In 1869 Father Woods founded the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, putting Brother Camillus (Terence Woods) at their head, for the work of boys' schools. At Father Woods's suggestion Bishop Sheil invited (1869) the Sevenhill Jesuits to establish themselves at Norwood. A gifted missionary, Father Woods, was invited (1870) by Bishop Quinn of Bathurst to give missions in his diocese; and for eleven years he laboured with great success in New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania. During his absence, however, difficulties arose; by episcopal authority the Brothers were disbanded and the Sisters for a time dispersed. Their manner of observing poverty and their freedom from diocesan control were objected to. In a short time the storm subsided. Father Tappeiner, S.J., of Norwood, took Father Woods's place as director and friend. Mother Mary was sent to Rome by Bishop Reynolds, then (1873) administrator of the Diocese of Adelaide. Pius IX, 20 April, 1874, approved of the rule of the Sisters after it had been revised and reported on by Father Anderledy, later General of the Jesuits. The Sisters were allowed to live under central government, possess property, and accept fees for tuition. This was affirmed anew when Leo XIII erected the institute into a congregation, 25 July, 1888. During his apostolic labours Father Woods found opportunity for scientific pursuits.

His "Geological Observations in South Australia" (London, 1862) won him the friendship of Sir Charles Lyell. In 1883 he accepted the invitation of Sir Frederick Weld to visit Singapore. He then explored Malacca for minerals, traversed Java, and spent some time in Siam. That same year he received a gold medal from the King of Holland in recognition of his scientific labours. The British Admiralty requested him to report on the coal resources of the East, as he was probably then the leading authority on this subject. His discoveries were of great benefit to the British navy, and he was munificently recompensed by the Admiralty, which placed his reports in its archives. After visiting China and Japan his health became impaired, and on his homeward journey in H.M.S. "Flying Fish", before landing at Port Darwin, he visited several islands previously unknown. At the request of the government resident at Port Darwin, he thoroughly explored the mineral districts of the Northern Territory of South Australia.

After a short visit to Queensland he returned to Sydney, where he gradually became paralysed. Some of his best work was done as an invalid. He received the Passionist habit on his death-bed, and was buried in Waverley Cemetery, Sydney. Father Woods was a fellow of the Geological Society of London (1859), and was elected president of the Linnean Society of New South Wales in 1880. In addition to the works mentioned above, he wrote: "Not quite as old as the hills" (Melbourne, 1864); "History of the Discovery and Exploration of Australia" (London, 1865); "Fish and Fisheries of New South Wales" (Sydney, 1882); "Australian Essays"; "Australian Bibliography"; "On Natural History in New South Wales" (Sydney, 1882); "On the Volcano of Taal Philippines" (Sydney, 1887); "North Australia and its Physical Geography" (Adelaide, 1887); "Fisheries in Oriental Regions" (Sydney, 1888); "Anatomy and Life History of Mollusca" (Sydney, 1888), a prize essay which won the W.B. Clarke medal; "Desert Sand Stone of Australia" (Sydney, 1889); "On Vegetation in Malaysia" (Sydney, 1889); and "Geographical Notes in Malaysia and Asia" (Sydney, 18888). The catalogue of the Public Library, Adelaide, contains the names of seventy-nine books, pamphlets, and articles written by Father Woods; the articles, which treat chiefly of geology, conchology, and zoology, were mainly contributed to the journals of the various Australasian scientific societies.

Jean-Baptiste Labat

Dominican missionary, born at Paris, 1664; died there, 1738. He entered the Order of Preachers in his native city at the age of twenty years and was professed on 11 April 1685. After the completion of his philosophical and theological studies he was ordained and for several years taught philosophy publicly to the secular students of Nancy. Abandoning this work he devoted himself to missionary activity and for many years preached in the various churches of France. The missionary fields of America were proving a strong attraction to the zealous clergy of his day, and Labat became filled with a burning desire to assist in the evangelization of the Indians. Accordingly, in 1693, he obtained permission from the general of the order to depart for those colonies of the West Indies which were then under French domination, and laboured among the Indians for thirteen years, until 1706, when he sailed for Italy in the interests of his mission. After attending a meeting of the order at Bologna, and presenting to the general a report of his work, he prepared to return to American, but was denied permission and detained in Rome for several years.

During this period he commenced a long contemplated history of the West Indies. The work was finally published in six volumes at Paris, in 1722, with copious illustrations made by himself ("Nouveau Voyage aux isles Françoises de l'Amérique", Paris, 1722). Labat had a wide reputation as a mathematician and won recognition both as a naturalist and as a scientist. He embodied in the history his scientific observations and treated comprehensively and accurately of the soil, trees, plants, fruits, and herbs of the islands. He also explained the manufactures then in existence and pointed out means for the development of commercial relations. He published similar works on other countries, drawing information from the notes of other missionaries. His two works on Africa have become well known: "Nouvelle relation de l'Afrique occidentale", Paris, 1728 and "Relation historique de l'Ethiopie occidentale" (Congo, Angola, Matamba, after the Italian of Father Cavazzi, Cap. (Paris, 1732). The latter treatise is supplemented with notes and statistics drawn from Portuguese sources.

Giovanni Battista Riccioli

Italian astronomer, b. at Ferrara 17 April, 1598; d. at Bologna 25 June, 1671. He entered the Society of Jesus 6 Oct., 1614. After teaching philosophy and theology for a number of years, chiefly at Parma and Bologna, he devoted himself, at the request of his superiors, entirely to the study of astronomy, which at that time, owing to the discoveries of Kepler and the new theories of Copernicus, was a subject of much discussion. Realizing the many defects of the traditional astronomy inherited from the ancients, he conceived the bold idea of undertaking a reconstruction of the science with a view to bringing it into harmony with contemporary progress. This led to his "Almagestum novum, astronomiam veterem novamque complectens" (2 vols., Bologna, 1651), considered by many the most important literary work of the Jesuits during the seventeenth century.

The author in common with many scholars of the time, notably in Italy, rejected the Copernican theory, and in this work, admittedly of great erudition, gives an elaborate refutation in justification of the Roman Decrees of 1616 and 1633. He praises, however, the genius of Copernicus and readily admits the value of his system as a simple hypothesis. His sincerity in this connexion has been called into question by some, e.g. Wolf, but a study of the work shows beyond doubt that he wrote from conviction and with the desire of making known the truth. Riccioli's project also included a comparison of the unit of length of various nations and a more exact determination of the dimensions of the earth. His topographical measurements occupied him at intervals between 1644 and 1656, but defects of method have rendered his results of but little value.

His most important contribution to astronomy was perhaps his detailed telescopic study of the moon, made in collaboration with P. Grimaldi. The latter's excellent lunar map was inserted in the "Almagestum novum", and the lunar nomenclature they adopted is still in use. He also made observations on Saturn's rings, though it was reserved for Huyghens to determine the true ring-structure. He was an ardent defender of the new Gregorian calendar. Though of delicate health, Riccioli was an indefatigable worker and, in spite of his opposition to the Copernican theory, rendered valuable services to astronomy and also to geography and chronology. His chief works are: "Geographiæ et hydrographiæ reformatæ libri XII" (Bologna, 1661); "Astronomia reformata" (2 vols., Bologna, 1665); "Chronologia reformata" (1669); "Tabula latitudinum et longitudinum" (Vienna, 1689).

Paul of Middelburg

A scientist and bishop, born in 1446 at Middelburg, the ancient capital of the province of Zealand, belonging then to the German Empire, now to Holland; died in Rome, 13 December, 1534. After finishing his studies in Louvain he received a canonry in his native town, of which he was afterwards deprived. The circumstances of this fact are not known, but in his apologetic letter on the celebration of Easter he calls it a usurpation, and shows great bitterness against his country, calling it "barbara Zelandiæ insula", "vervecum patria", "cerdonum regio", etc. He then taught for a while in Louvain, was invited by the Signoria of Venice to take a chair for sciences in Padua (1480), travelled through Italy, became physician to Francesco Maria della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, and friend to Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, afterwards emperor. By the former he was endowed with the Benedictine Abbey St. Christophorus in Castel Durante (1488), and by the latter he was recommended to Alexander VI for the Bishopric of Fossombrone (Moroni, LXXXV, 314). Being nominated to that see, in 1494, he destroyed some of his former publications; first "Giudizio dell' anno 1480", in which he had censured a number of mathematicians; then a "Practica de pravis Constellationibus", and a defence of that work against the nephew of Paul II (1484); and finally an "Invectiva in superstitiosum Vatem". He chose for himself an astronomical coat of arms, and, in 497, enlarged and embellished the episcopal palace. Besides some smaller treatises against usurers and against the superstitious fear of a flood in 1524 (Fossombrone, 1523), he wrote important works on the reform of the Calendar, which procured for him invitations by Julius II and Leo X to the Fifth Lateran Council (1512-1518). His "Epistola ad Universitatem Lovaniensem de Paschate recte observando" (1487) was followed by an "Epistola apologetica" (1488), and finally by his principal work "Paulina, de recta Pasch celebratione" (Fossombrone, 1513). The contents and result of the work are described under the article LILIUS. He died while assisting at the Divine Office in Rome, and was buried in S. Maria dell' Anima. His family name is unknown, but in one place he is called Paolo di Adriano (Moroni, XLIV, 120). Scaliger, who calls him "Omnium sui sæculi mathematicorum . . . facile princeps", was his godson.

Joseph Bayma

Jesuit mathematician and scientist, b. in Piedmont, Italy, 9 November, 1816; d. at Santa Clara, California, U.S.A. 7 February, 1892. He entered the Society of Jesus, 5 February, 1832, and distinguished himself in literature, mathematics, and physics. He was in charge of the episcopal seminary of Bertinoro when the troubles of 1860 forced him and many of his brethren to seek shelter in England. Hitherto he had given no special attention to philosophy, but at Stonyhurst he took it up and taught it for some seven years. His powerful and original mind soon produced three volumes of "Realis Philosophia", which were printed for private circulation. No sooner were they out than he introduced numerous corrections; thus the printed volumes cannot be relied upon as evidence of his mature opinions. In 1868 Father Bayma left for California, where he was Rector of Saint Ignatius' College, San Francisco, for three years, but afterwards resided at Santa Clara, teaching elementary mathematics there until his death. At his death he left behind, in manuscript, an elaborate new edition of the "Realis Philosophia" which never saw the light. His published works are "Molecular Mechanics" (Cambridge, 1866); "The Love of Religious Perfection", originally in Italian, in the style of the "The Imitation of Christ" (published in English, Dublin, 1863); articles in "The Catholic World", XVII-XXI (1873-75), the best printed account of his philosophy; two articles in the "Am. Cath. Q. Rev.", II (1877); and "A Discussion with an Infidel", being a review of Büchner's "Force and Matter" (New York, London, and Leamington, 1901). His elementary works on mathematics, all published in San Francisco, are: "Algebra" (1890), "Geometry" (1895), "Analytical Geometry" (1887), "Plane and Spherical Trigonometry" (1886), "Infinitesimal Calculus" (1889).

Father Bayma took the Venerable Bede for his model, and loved to refer to the old Breviary Lesson, which used to be read in England on St. Bede's day. It ran: "Bede [and Bayma too] was handsome of stature, grave of gait, rich and sonorous of voice, eloquent of speech, noble of countenance, a blend of affability and severity. He was affable to the god and devout, formidable to the proud and negligent. He was always reading, always writing, always teaching, always praying." Only the young men who sat under him could know his fascination as a teacher. To posterity he must be known by his "Molecular Mechanics", a metaphysical and mathematical work treating of the constitution of matter. With Roger Boscovich, Bayma reduces all matter to unextended points, centres of force acting in the inverse square of the distance. Thus acting upon one another, but of course not touching, for Bayma abhorred continuous matter and upheld actio in distans, these points were bound up into molecules, and molecules into bodies. Boscovich made his points, or elements, attractive at molar distances, repulsive at molecular. Bayma divides elements into attractive and repulsive, the former always attracting, the later always repelling; the attractive elements preponderating in the in the nucleus of the molecule, the repulsive in the envelope. The work drew attention at Cambridge, and at Trinity College, Dublin. The author was advised to test his theories by ten years of experiments in chemistry and electricity. Unhappily, this was never done. One of his proofs certainly lies open to grave objection, but Bayma's main theory does not stand or fall with that proposition. The gravest objection against the theory is its alleged failure to account for inertia. Father Bayma ever professed the utmost reverence for St. Thomas. His saying was: "the metaphysics of St. Thomas, with modern physics".

Michel Benoît

Born at Autun (or Dijon), France, 8 October, 1715; died at Peking, 23 October, 1774, a Jesuit scientist, for thirty years in the service of Kien Lung, Emperor of China. He studied at Dijon, and at St. Sulpice, Paris, and entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Nancy, 18 March, 1737. After three years of renewed entreaties, he was granted his desire of the Chinese mission, but before his departure completed his astronomical studies at Paris under de l'Isle, de la Caille, and Le Monnierr, who attached much importance to his later correspondence.

On his arrival at Peking in 1744 (or 1745), a persecution was raging against the missionaries in the provinces; still, as their scientific ability made them indispensable to the government, Father Benoît was retained at court and entrusted with the task of designing and carrying out a great system of decorative fountains in the royal gardens. He spent many years in this work, for which he evinced rare talent. He built European houses within the enclosures of these gardens and in front of one, in the Italian style of architecture, he constructed a curious water clock. The Manchu characterize the twelve hours of their day (twenty-four hours, European time) by twelve animals of different species. On two sides of a large triangular basin of water Father Benoît placed figures of these animals, through the mouths of each of which, successively, for two hours, was forced a jet of water by some ingenuous mechanical device. While applying himself to his astronomical studies, he taught the emperor the use of the reflecting telescope. Among his numerous works were a large map of the world (twelve and a half by six and a half feet) to which he added valuable astronomical and geographical details.

A general chart of the empire and surrounding country, engraved on copper, though at the outset he was little versed in this art as were his Chinese collaborators, whom he had chosen from the best wood-engravers in the country. The work was done on 104 plates (two feet two inches by one foot two inches, Chinese measure).

Sixteen designs of the emperor's battles had been engraved on copper in France, at the expense of Louis XV, and when these were sent to China, with numerous prints made from them, the emperor immediately desired Father Benoît to print further copies. This required new presses for these delicately wrought French plates. new methods of wetting the paper, distributing ink, etc. The result was successful, even rivaling the work done in France, but it was Father Benoît's last service. He died of apoplexy, ripe in religious and apostolic virtues. The emperor said of him, "That was a good man, and generous in his service"; a missionary remarked, on hearing this, that, had the words been said of a Tartar or Chinese, they would have rendered illustrious a long line of descendants. Father Benoît was the author of many letters, preserved in the "Lettres edifiantes"; he translated into Chinese "the Imitation of Christ," while in the "Mémoires sur les Chinois" are many memoirs, descriptions, and sketches ascribed to him, but unsigned.

Jean-Baptiste-François Pitra

Cardinal, famous archeologist and theologian, b. 1 August, 1812, at Champforgeuil in the Department of Saône-et-Loire, France; d. 9 Feb., 1889, in Rome. He was educated at Autun, ordained priest on 13 December, 1836, and occupied the chair of rhetoric at the petit séminaire of Autun from 1836 to 1841. From his early youth he manifested indefatigable diligence which, combined with brilliant talents and a remarkable memory, made him one of the most learned men of his time. The first fruit of his scholarship was his decipherment, in 1839, of the fragments of a sepulchral monument, discovered in the cemetery of Saint-Pierre at Autun and known as the "Inscription of Autun". It probably dates back to the third century, was composed by a certain Pectorius and placed over the grave of his parents. The initials of the first five verses of the eleven-line inscription form the symbolical word ‘ichthús (fish), and the whole inscription is a splendid testimony of the early belief in baptism, the Holy Eucharist, prayer for the dead, communion of saints, and life everlasting. He published the inscription in "Spicilegium Solesmense" (III, 554-64).

In 1840 Pitra applied to Abbot Guéranger of Solesmes for admission into the Benedictine order but, to accommodate the Bishop of Autun, he remained another year as professor at the petit séminaire of Autun. He finally began his novitiate at Solesmes on 15 January, 1842, and made his profession on 10 February, 1843. A month later, he was appointed prior of St-Germain in Paris. During his sojourn there he was one of the chief collaborators of Abbé Migne in the latter's colossal "Cursus patrologiæ". Pitra drew up the list of the authors whose writings were to find a place in the work, and collaborated in the edition of the Greek writers up to Photius, and of the Latin up to Innocent III. At the same time he contributed extensively to the newly founded periodical "Auxiliare catholique". In 1845 he had to break his connexion with the great work of Migne, owing to the financial difficulties of the priory of St-Germain, which finally had to be sold to satisfy the creditors. Pitra undertook a journey through Champagne, Burgundy, Lorraine, Alsace, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, and England in the interests of his priory. At the same time he visited numerous libraries in these countries in search of unpublished manuscripts bearing on the history of the early Christian Church. The fruits of his researches he gave to the world in his famous "Spicilegium Solesmense" (see below).

His many great archæological discoveries and his unusual acquaintances with whatever bore any relation to the Byzantine Church, induced Pius IX to send him on a scientific mission to the libraries of Russia in 1858. Before setting out on his journey he studied the manuscripts relative to Greek canon law, in the libraries of Rome and other Italian cities. In Russia, where he spent over seven months (July, 1859- March, 1860), he had free access to all the libraries of St. Petersburg and Moscow. On his return he made an official visit of the twenty Basilian monasteries of Galicia at the instance of the papal nuncio at Vienna. After arranging his writings at the monasteries of Solesmes and Ligugé, he was called to Rome in August, 1861, to consult with the pope on the advisability of erecting at the Propaganda a special department for Oriental affairs and to make a personal report on his findings in the libraries of Russia. Pitra was also chosen to supervise the new edition of the liturgical books of the Greek Rite, which was being prepared by the Propaganda. He was created cardinal on 16 March, 1863, with the titular church of St. Thomas in Parione. As his residence he chose the palace of San Callisto where he continued to live the simple life of a monk as far as his new duties permitted.

On 23 Jan., 1869, he was appointed librarian of the Vatican. He drew up new and more liberal regulations for the use of the library and facilitated in every way access of scholars to the Vatican manuscripts. Above all, however, he himself made diligent researches among the manuscripts and published many rare and valuable specimens in his "Analecta" (see below). At the Vatican Council in 1870, he ably maintained against the inopportunists that the Catholics of the Greek and Oriental Churches upheld the papal infallibility. After the accession of Leo XIII (20 Feb., 1878) he supervised the edition of a catalogue of the Vatican manuscripts, of which the first volume, "Codices Palatini Græci", appeared in 1885 and was prefaced by Cardinal Pitra with a laudatory epistle addressed to Leo XIII. On 21 May, 1879, he was appointed Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati and for five years laboured incessantly for the welfare of his diocese, which had been greatly neglected. On 24 Merch, 1884, he was transferred to the episcopal See of Porto and Santa Rufina to which was annexed the dignity of subdean of the Sacred College. On 19 May, 1885, AbbéBrouwers published in the "Amstelbode", a Catholic journal of Belgium, a letter of Pitra, which the hostile press construed into an attack upon the policy of Leo XIII; but Pitra soon satisfied the Holy See of his filial devotion.
Cardinal Pitra was one of the most learned and pious members of the Sacred College. Besides being Librarian of the Holy Roman Church and member of various Roman congregations and cardinalitial commissions, he was cardinal protector of the Cistercians, the Benedictine congregation of France, the Benedictine nuns of St. Cecilia at Solesmes and of Stanbrook in England, the Eudists, the Brothers of Christian Schools, the Sisters of Mercy of St. Charles in Nancy, and the Sisters of the Atonement in Paris. The following are his literary productions:—(1) "Histoire de Saint Léger, évêque d'Autun et martyr, et de l'église des Francs au VIIe siècle" (Paris, 1846), one of the most complete monographs on the Church of the Franks during the seventh century; (2) "La Hollande catholique" (Paris, 1850), consisting mostly of letters concerning Holland and its people, which he wrote while travelling in that country in 1849; (3) "Etudes sur la collection des Actes des Saints par les RR. PP. Jésuites Bollandistes" (Paris, 1850), a complete history of the "Acta Sanctorum" of the Bollandists, preceded by a treatise on the hagiological collections up to the time of Rosweyde (d. 1629); (4) "Spicilegium Solesmense" (4 vols., Paris, 1852-1858), a collection of hitherto unpublished works of Greek and Latin Fathers of the Church and other early ecclesiastical writers; (5) "Vie du P. Libermann" (Paris, 1855; 2nd ed., 1872; 3rd ed., 1882), a very reliable life of the Venerable Paul Libermann, founder of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Libermann had been a personal acquaintance of Pitra; (6) "Juris ecclesiastici Græcorum historia et monumenta" (2 vols., Rome, 1864-8), containing the canonical writings of the Greeks from the so-called "Apostolic Constitutions" to the "Nomocanon", generally ascribed to Photius. With its learned introduction and its many notes and comments, the work forms a complete history of Byzantine law; (7) "Hymnographie de l'église grecque" (Rome, 1867), a dissertation on Greek hymnography, accompanied by numerous Greek hymns in honour of Sts. Peter and Paul; (8) "Analecta sacra Spicilegio Solesmense". The first volume (Paris, 1876) contains Greek hymns; the second (Frascati, 1883), the third (Venice, 1883), and the fourth (Paris, 1883) contain writings of ante-Nicene Fathers; the fifth (Paris, 1888) is composed of writings of the Fathers and of a few pagan philosophers; the seventh (Paris, 1891) contains writings bearing on the canon law of the Greeks and was published posthumously by Battandier, who had been Pitra's secretary; the eighth (Monte Cassino, 1881) contains the writings of St. Hildegard; the sixth, which was to contain Greek melodies, has not been published; (9) "Analecta novissima" (2 vols., Frascati, 1885-8), a second supplement to "Spicilegium Solesmense". The first volume contains a French treatise on papal letters, bullaria, catalogues of popes etc., and a hitherto unpublished treatise on Pope Vigilius by Dom Constant. The second volume is devoted to writings of Odon d'Ourscamp, Odon de Châteauroux, Jacques de Vitry, and Bertrand de la Tour, four medieval French bishops of Frascati; (10) "Sancti Romani cantica sacra" (Rome, 1888), a collection of hymns written by Romanos, the greatest Byzantine hymnodist. Pitra presented this work to Leo XIII on the occasion of his sacerdotal jubilee. In addition to these works Pitra contributed numerous archæological, theological, historical, and other articles to various scientific periodicals of France.

Lazzaro Spallanzani

A distinguished eighteenth-century scientist, b. at Scadiano in Modena, Italy, 10 January, 1729; d. at Pavia, 12 February, 1799. His early education was received at the Jesuit College of Reggio. His scientific career began at the University of Bologna under the inspiration of his cousin, Laura Bassi, the famous woman professor of natural philosophy and mathematics. He gave up the study of law and was ordained a priest; at twenty-five he became professor of logic, metaphysics, and Greek in the University of Reggio. His favourite authors were Homer, Demosthenes, and St. Basil, and his work attracted so much attention that he was offered chairs at Coimbra (Portugal), Parma, and Cesena (Italy). He preferred a chair at Modena (1760) and devoted all his spare time to natural science. His work here brought offers of professorships at other Italian universities and from the Academy of St. Petersburg. In 1768, at the personal solicitation of the Empress Maria Theresa, he accepted the chair of natural history in the University of Pavia which was then being reorganized. He greatly enriched the museum here by collections made in journeys in Switzerland and along the Mediterranean. After the death of Vallisneri, whose chair at Padua had been the centre of interest in the natural sciences, Spallanzani was invited to take it, but the Austrian authorities doubled his salary and gave him a long leave of absence for a scientific expedition to Turkey to retain him. His home-coming was an ovation. He continued to make scientific journeys and special studies of Vesuvius and the volcanoes of Sicily and of the Lipari Islands.

His contributions to every phase of physical science are valuable, but it was in biology that his work counted for most; his studies in regeneration are still classic. He showed experimentally that many animals like the lizard and the snail, if accidentally injured, regenerate important parts of their bodies; the land snail regenerates even its head. It was afterwards shown that this does not contain the brain, but it does contain eyes, mouth, tongue, and teeth, and these are all regenerated. Spallanzani made a long series of interesting experiments on artificial fecundation. His most important work is "Dissertazioni di fisica animale e vegetale" (Modena, 1780). His researches were so much appreciated that he was made a member of academies and learned societies of London, Madrid, Stockholm, Upsala, Göttingen, Holland, Lyons, Bologna, Milan, Siena, Turin, Padua, Mantua, Geneva, and Berlin. The University of Paris, then the most important of universities for the sciences, tempted him to come as a professor.

His personal character was charming and he made many friends. His biological work brought him into controversies with Needham and Buffon over spontaneous generation, and with John Hunter over digestion. He came off victorious in both contests but with such gentle courtesy as not to offend, though his opponents in the taste of the time indulged in personalities. His family were devoted to him, and his sister Marianne herself became a distinguished naturalist while helping him. He was devoutly religious, and as Senebier says, "he perceived with firmness his end approaching and endeavoured by his piety and his faith to edify those who surrounded him."

Jean-Baptiste Duhamel

A French scientist, philosopher, and theologian, b. at Vire, Normandy (now in the department of Calvados), 11 June, 1624; d. at Paris, 6 August, 1706. He began his studies at Caen and completed them at Paris. In 1642, being only eighteen years of age, Duhamel published an explanation of the work of Theodosius called "Spherics", to which he added a treatise on trigonometry. The following year he entered the Congregation of the Oratory, which he left ten years later to take charge of the parish of Neuilly-sur-Marne. Resigning this position in 1663, he became chancellor of the church of Bayeux. When Colbert founded the Académie of Sciences (1666), he appointed Duhamel its first secretary. Duhamel held this office until 1697, when he resigned and, upon his own recommendation, was succeeded by Fontenelle. With Colbert's brother, Marquis de Croissy, he went, in 1668, first to Aix-la-Chapelle for the peace negotiations, and later to England, where he came in touch with the foremost scientists, especially with the physicist Boyle.

Duhamel's works are "Philosophia moralis christiana" (Angers, 1652); "Astronomia physica" (Paris, 1659); "De meteoris et fossilbus" (Paris, 1659) ; "De consensu veteris et novæ philosphiæ" (Paris, 1663), a treatise on natural philosophy in which the Greek and scholastic theories are compared with those of Descartes; "De corporum affectionibus" (Paris, 1670); "De mente humanâ" (Paris, 1672); "De corpore animato" (Paris, 1673); "Philosophia vetus et nova ad usum scholæ accommodata" (Paris, 1678). This last work, composed by order of Colbert as a textbook for colleges, ran through many editions. He also published: "Theologia speculatrix et practica" (7 vols., Paris, 1690), abridged in five volumes for use as a textbook in seminaries (Paris, 1694); "Regiæ scientiarum Academiæ historia" (Paris, 1698; enlarged edition, 1701); "Institutiones biblicæ" (Paris, 1698), in which are examined the questions of the authority, integrity, and inspiration of the Bible, the value of the Hebrew text and of its translations, the style and method of interpretation, Biblical geography, and chronology; "Biblia sacra Vulgatæ editionis" (Paris, 1705), with introductions, notes, chronological, historical, and geographical tables. In his choice of opinions, Duhamel shows great impartiality and unbiased judgment. His admiration for empirical science does not make him despise the speculations of his predecessors, but he examines and criticizes both sides carefully, tries to reconcile them, and, if this be impossible, gives his own opinion. Brucker, in his history of philosophy, calls him "vir et judicii laude clarissimus et doctrinæ copia celeberrimus". Fontenelle praises his noble character and his disinterestedness; his charity, which "was exercised too frequently not to become known, notwithstanding his care to conceal it"; his humility, which was not only on his lips, but was "a feeling based on science itself".

Ruggiero Giuseppe Boscovich

A Dalmatian Jesuit and well-known mathematician, astronomer, and natural philosopher, b. at Ragusa, 18 May 1711; d. at Milan, 13 February, 1787. He was the youngest of six brothers and his education began at the Jesuit college of his native city. Being early impressed by the success achieved by his masters, he resolved to receive admission into their ranks, and on 31 October, 1725, at the youthful age of fourteen, he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Rome. His unusual talents manifested themselves particularly during the years devoted to literary and philosophical studies at the Collegio Romano, the most celebrated of the colleges of the Society of Jesus. Thus, for example, young Boscovich discovered for himself the proof of the theorem of Pythagoras. His professor, especially Father Horatio Borgondi, professor of mathematics, knew how to cultivate talents, and he made such progress, especially in mathematics, that he was able to take the place of his former professor at the Roman College even before the completion of his theological studies. As soon as he had completed the ordinary studies of a young Jesuit, he was appointed regular professor of mathematical science at the same college. He performed the duties of this office with much distinction for a whole generation, as is evidenced by the numerous Latin dissertations which he published nearly every year, according to the custom of the time. These show Boscovich's preference for astronomical problems. Among them may be mentioned:

  • The Sunspots (1736);
  • The Transit of Mercury (1737);
  • The Aurora Borealis (1738);
  • The Application of the Telescope in Astronomical Studies (1739);
  • The Figure of the Earth (1739);
  • The Motion of the heavenly Bodies in an unresisting Medium (1740);
  • The Various Effects of Gravity (1741);
  • The Aberration of the Fixed Stars (1742).

Problems in pure mathematics as well as philosophical speculations regarding the various theories on the constitution of matter also engaged his attention and he took an active part in all scientific discussions which agitated the learned world of his time. To these belong his The Deviation of the earth from the probable Spherical Shape; Researches on Unusual Gravitation; The Computation of a Comet's Orbit from a Few Observations, etc. His able treatment of these and similar problems attracted the attention of foreign, as well as of Italian, Academies, several of which--among them Bologna, Paris, and London--admitted him to membership. At Paris he shared with the famous mathematician Euler the honor of having submitted the correction solution to a prize problem.

Boscovich also showed much ability in dealing with practical problems. To him was due the project of the Observatory of the Collegio Romano, which afterwards became so well known. He first suggested using the massive dome-pillars of the college church of St. Ignatius as a foundation, on account of their great stability. (The church dome has not yet been completed, so the pillars still await the substructure planned by the architect.) The unfavorable circumstances of the time, and the storms brewing against the Jesuits, which ended, as is well known, in the suppression of the Society, prevented Boscovich's plan from being carried out until 1850, when Father Secchi, his worthy successor, was able to bring it to completion. There is a close parallel, it may be observed, between these two coryphaei of the Roman College, and Boscovich may, without hesitation, be considered the intellectual forerunner of Secchi. Like Secchi, too, he was the advisor of the papal Government in all important technical questions. Thus, when in the middle of the eighteenth century the great dome of St. Peter's began to show cracks and other signs of damage, causing consternation to the pope and to the Eternal City, Boscovich was consulted, and the excitement was not allayed until his plan to place large iron bands about the dome was carried out. His advice was sought when there was a question of rendering innocuous the Pontine marshes and he was also entrusted with the survey of the Papal States. Pope Benedict XIV commissioned him and his fellow Jesuit, Le Maire, to carry out several precise meridian arc measurements, and it seems to have been due chiefly to his influence that the same pope, in 1757, abrogated the obsolete decree of the Index against the Copernican system.

Many universities outside of Italy sought to number Boscovich among their professors. He himself was full of the spirit of enterprise, as was shown when King John V of Portugal petitioned the general of the Jesuits for ten Fathers to make an elaborate survey in Brazil. He voluntarily offered his services for the arduous task, hoping thus to be able to carry out an independent survey in Ecuador, and so obtain data of value for the final solution to the problem of the figure of the earth, which was then exciting much attention in England and France. His proposal lead to the initiation of similar surveys in the Papal States, the pope taking this means of retaining him in his own domain. A detailed account of the results of the work appeared in a large quarto volume (Rome, 1755) entitled: "De litterariâ expeditione per Pontificam ditionem ad dimetiendos duos meridiani gradus et corrigendam mappam geographicam." A map of the Papal States made at the same time, which corrected many previous errors, proved to be likewise a wholesome contribution to the discussion regarding the more or less spherical form of the earth. Many of the triangulations were accomplished by no slight difficulties. The two base-lines employed in the survey--one on the Via Apia, the other in the neighborhood of Rimini--were measured with great care. The first was redetermined in 1854-55 by Father Secchi, as the mark indicating one end of the line measured by Boscovich and La Maire had been lost. (Cf. Secchi's work: Misura della Base trigonometrica esequita sull via Appia per ordine del governo pontifico, Roma, 1858.) Besides his work in mathematical astronomy, we also find Boscovich speculating, upon scientific grounds, on the essence of matter and endeavoring to establish more widely Newton's law of universal gravitation. As early as 1748 we meet essays from his pen in this field of thought, e.g. De materiae divisibilitate et du principiis corporum dissertatio (1748); De continuitatis lege et ejus consectariis pertinentibus ad prima materiae elementa eorumque vires (1754); De lege virium in natura existentium (1755); Philosophiae naturalis theoria redacta ad unicam legem virium in natura existentium (1758). Boscovich, according to the views expressed in these essays, held that bodies could not be composed of a continuous material substance, nor even of contiguous material particles, but of innumerable point-like structures whose individual components lack all extension and divisibility. A repulsion exists between them which is indeed infinitesimal but cannot vanish without compenetration taking place. This repulsion is due to certain forces with which these elements are endowed. It tends to become infinite when they are in very close proximity, whereas within certain limits it diminishes as the distance is increased and finally becomes an attractive force. This change is brought about by the diverse direction of the various forces.

Boscovich divided his last-mentioned exhaustive work into three parts, first explaining and establishing his theory, and then pointing out his applications to mechanical problems, and finally showing how it may be employed in physics. His attempt to reduce the complicated laws of nature to a simple fundamental law aroused so much interest that in 1763 a third, and enlarged edition of his "Theoria philosphiae naturalis" (Venice, 1763) had become necessary. The publisher added as an appendix a catalogue of Boscovich's previous works. There are no less than sixty-six treatises dating from 1736--a proof of his literary activity. Some have already been mentioned, and to these may be added his "Elementorum matheseos tomi tres," in quarto (1752).

Boscovich attracted attention by his political writings as well as by his scientific achievements. His Latin verses in which he eulogized the Polish king, Stanislaus, Pope Benedict XIV, and various Venetian noblemen, were read before the Arcadian Academy of Rome. His "Carmen de Solis ac Lunae defectibus" (5 vols., London, 1760) was much admired. His services were also in demand in several cities and provinces. Thus, in 1757, he was sent by the city of Lucca to the Court of Vienna to urge the damming of the lakes which were threatening the city. He acquitted himself of this task which such skill that the Luccans made him an honorary citizen and rendered him generous assistance on his scientific journeys, both in Italy, France, and England. While in England he gave the impulse to the observations of the approaching transit of Venus, on 6 June, 1761, and it is not unlikely that his proposal to employ lenses composed of liquids, to avoid chromatic aberration, may have contributed to Dolland's success in constructing achromatic telescopes. The citizens of Ragusa, his native town, besought him to settle a dispute in which they had become involved with the King of France--an affair which the pope himself deigned to adjust. Boscovich returned from England in company with the Venetian ambassador who took him by way of Poland as far as Constantinople. He availed himself of this opportunity to extend and complete his archeological studies in these countries, as may be gathered from his journal published at Bassano in 1784: "Giornale d'un viaggio da Constantinopli in Polnia con una relazione della rovine de Troja." The hardships of this journey shattered his health, yet we find him shortly after (1762) employed at Rome in various practical works, such as the draining of the Pontine marshes. In 1764 he accepted the appointment of professor of mathematics at the University of Pavia (Ticinum).

At the same time, Father Le Grange, the former assistant of Father Pezenas of the Observatory of Marseilles, was invited by the Jesuits of Milan to erect an observatory at the large college of Brera. He was able to avail himself of the technical skill of Boscovich in carrying out his commission and it may be questioned to which of the two belongs the greater credit in the founding of this observatory which, even in our own time, with that of the Collegio Romano, is among the most prominent of Italy. It was Boscovich who selected the southeast corner of the college as a site for the observatory and worked out the complete plans, including the reinforcements and the necessary remodeling for the structure. Building operations were immediately begun, and in the following year, 1765, a large room for the mural quadrants and meridian instruments, another for the smaller instrument, and a broad terrace, with several revolving domes to contain the sextants and equitorials, were completed. Such was the stability of the observatory that the new 18-inch glass of Schiaparelli could be mounted in it although a cylindrical dome of 13 yards, 4 inches now takes the place of the octogonal hall of Boscovich.

The London Academy proposed to send Boscovich in charge of an expedition to California to observe the transit of Venus in 1769, but, unfortunately, the opposition manifested everywhere to the Society of Jesus and leading finally to its suppression, made this impossible. He continued, however, to give his services to the Milan Observatory for whose further development he was able to obtain no inconsiderable sums of money. In particular the adjustment of the instrument engaged his attention, a subject about which he left several papers. But as his elaborate plans received only partial support from his superiors and patrons, he thought seriously in 1772 of severing his connection with the observatory, and, in fact, in the same year, Father La Grange was placed in complete charge of the new institution. Boscovich was to become professor at the University of Pisa, but Louis XV gained his services and invited him to Paris, where a new office, Director of Optics for the Marine--d'optique au service de la Marine--with a salary of 8,000 francs, was created for him. He retained this position until 1783 when he returned to Italy to supervise the printing of his as yet unpublished works in five volumes, for it was not easy to find a suitable publisher in France for books written in Latin. In 1785 there appeared at Bassano, "Rogerii Josephi Boscovich opera pertinentia ad opticam et astronomiam. . .in quinque tomos distributa," the last important work from the pen of this active man, who, after its completion, retired for a time to the monastery of the monks of Vallombrosa. He returned to Milan with new plans, but death shortly overtook him at the age of seventy-six, delivering him from a severe malady which was accompanied by temporary mental derangement. He was buried in the church of Santa Maria Podone.

Boscovich, by his rare endowments of mind and the active use which he made of his talents, was preeminent among the scholars of his time. His merits were recognized by learned societies and universities, and by popes and princes who honored him and bestowed favors upon him. He was recognized as a gifted teacher, an accomplished leader in scientific enterprises, an inventor of important instruments which are still employed (such as the ring-micrometer, etc.) and as a pioneer in developing new theories. All this, however, did not fail to excite envy against him, particularly in the later years of his life in France, where men like d'Alembert and Condorcet reluctantly saw the homage paid to the former Jesuit, and that, too, at a time when so many frivolous charges were being made against his lately suppressed order. This hostility was further increased by various controversies which resulted in differences of opinion, such as the contention between Boscovich and Rochon regarding priority in the invention of the rock crystal prismatic micrometer. (Cf. Delambre, Historie de l'Astronomie du XVIIIe siecle, p. 645.) The invention of the ring-micrometer, just mentioned, which Boscovich describes in his memoir "De novo telescopii usu ad objecta coelestia determinanda" (Rome, 1739), has been ascribed without reason by some to the Dutch natural philosopher Huygens. The chief advantage of the simple measuring instrument designed by Boscovich consists in its not requiring any artificial illumination of the field of the telescope. This makes it useful in observing faint objects, as its inventor expressly points out in connection with the comet of 1739. The novel views of Boscovich in the domain of natural philosophy have not, up to the present time, passed unchallenged, even on the part of Catholic scholars. Against his theory of the constitution of matter the objection has been raised that an inadmissible actio in distans is inevitable in the mutual actions of the elementary points of which material bodies are supposed to be composed. The theory therefore leads to Occasionalism. Acknowledgement must, however, must be made of the suggestiveness of Boscovich's work in our own day, and the germs of many of the conclusions of modern physics may be found in it. His illustrious successor at the Observatory of the Collegio romano, Father Angelo Secchi, in his "Unita delle forze fisiche" has in many respects followed in his footsteps, and in fact the cosmological views held by many later natural philosophers furnish unequivocal proof of the influence of the theories maintained by Boscovich.

Among his many smaller works (for a full list, cf. Sommervogel, cited below), the following deserve special attention: De annuis stellarum fixarum aberrationibus (Rome, 1742); De orbitus cometarum determinandis ope trium observationem parum a se invicem remotarum (Paris, 1774); De recentibus compertis pertinentibus ad perficiendam dioptricam (1767). His chief works, however, are:

  • De litteraria expeditione per Pontificam ditionem (1755);
  • Theoria philosophiae naturalis (1758);
  • Opera pertinentia ad opticam at Astronomiam maxima ex parte nova et omnia hucusque inmedita (1785).

The second was published in Vienna 1758-59, in Venice, 1763, and again in Vienna in 1764. The last-named work was subjected to an exhaustive criticism by Delambre, by no means a friend of the Jesuits. He closes with these words: Boscovich in general manifests a preference for graphical methods in the use of which he gives evidence of great skill. in his whole work he shows himself a teacher who prefers to lecture rather than to lose himself in speculations."

Christian Mayer

Moravian astronomer, born at Mederizenhi in Moravia, 20 Aug., 1719, died at Heidelberg, 16 April, 1783. He entered the Society of Jesus at Mannheim on 26 Sept., 1745, and after completing his studies taught the humanities for some time at Aschaffenburg. He likewise cultivated his taste for mathematics, and later was appointed professor of mathematics and physics in the University of Heidelberg. In 1755 he was invited by the Elector Palatine Charles Theodore to construct and take charge of astronomical observatory at Mannheim. Here as well as at Schwetzingen, where he had also built an observatory, he carried on his observations which led to numerous memoirs, some of which were published in the "Philosophical Transactions" of London. 

One of his observations, recorded in the "Tables d'aberration et de mutation" (Mannheim, 1778) of his assistant Mesge, gave rise to much discussion. He claimed to have discovered that many of the more conspicuous stars in the southern heavens were surrounded by smaller stars, which he regarded as satellites. His contemporaries, including Herschel and Schröter, who were provided with much more powerful telescopes, failed to verify his observations. Mayer, however, defended their reality and replied to one of his critics, the well-known astronomer Father Höll, in a work entitled "Gründliche Vertheidigung neuer Beubachtungen von Fixstern-trabanten welche zu Mannheim auf der kurfürstl. Sternwarte endecket wordern sind", (Mannheim, 1778). In the following year he published a Latin work on the same subject. The observations, which were made in good faith, were evidently due to an optical illusion. 

Mayer spent some time at Paris in the interests of his science, and visited Germany in company with Cassini. Upon the invitation of Empress Catherine of Russia, he went to St. Petersburg to observe the transit of Venus in 1769. He was a member of numerous learned societies, including those of Mannheim, Munich, London, Bologna Göttingen, and Philadelphia. He published a number of memoirs, among which may be mentioned "Basis Palatina" (Mannheim, 1763), "Expositio de transitu Veneris" (St. Petersburg, 1769), "Pantometrum Pacechianum, seu instrumentum novum pro elicienda ex una statione distantia loci inaccessi" (Mannheim, 1762); "Nouvelle méthode pour lever en peu de temps et à peu de frais une carte générale et exacte de toute la Russie" (St. Petersburg, 1770); "Observations de la Comète de 1781" in the "Acts Acad. Petropolit." (1782), etc.

Pierre Gassendi

A French philosopher and scientist; b. at Champtercier, a country place near Digne in Provence, 22 January, 1592 (tombstone says IX cal. Feb., i.e. 24 Jan.); d. at Paris, 24 October, 1655. He studied Latin and rhetoric at Digne, and philosophy at Aix, whence his father, Antoine* called him back to take charge of domestic affairs. However he was appointed to succeed his former teacher of rhetoric at Digne at the age of 16, and his teacher of philosophy at Aix at the age of 19. His friends and patrons at Aix, Prior Gautier and Councillor Peiresc, recognized his character and talents from his first publication and helped him to enter the ecclesiastical state. He became doctor of theology at Aix and attained proficiency in Greek and Hebrew literature. To allow him leisure for his studies, he was appointed a canon (c. 1623) and provost (c. 1625) at the cathedral of Digne. 

Until 1645, his studies were interrupted only by a journey to the Netherlands in 1628 — his only trip outside of France. In 1645, on the recommendation of Cardinal Richelieu, he was appointed by the king to a professorship of mathematics at the College Royal of France, which he reluctantly accepted, being granted the rare privilege of returning to his native soil whenever his health required it. On 23 November, he delivered his inaugural address in presence of the cardinal. His lectures before a numerous and learned audience were astronomical rather than mathematical, and resulted, two years later, in the publication of "Institutio Astronomica". Meanwhile an inflammation of the lungs had obliged him to return to Provence. In 1653, he went back to Paris and was received in a friendly manner at the Chateau de Monmort, where a year later he fell seriously ill with intermittent fever. He was bled nine times, and, although he declared himself too weak for another bleeding, he submitted to the decision of the doctors in Paris. He underwent the same operation five times more, after which his speech became mere whispering, and he expired quietly at the age of 63.

Gassendi, "the Bacon of France", is specially note-worthy for his opposition to the Aristoteleanphilosophy, and for his revival of the Epicurean system. He wished the aprioristic methods then prevailing in the schools replaced by experimental proofs. His cosmology, psychology, and ethics are epicurean, except that he maintains the doctrine of the Creator and of Providence, and the spirituality and immortality of the soul. He thus attempts to build up a Christian philosophy upon Epicurus--an inconsistency which is attacked by non-Christian, as well as Christian philosophers. His views on the constitution of matter and his merits in regard to modern kinetic atomism are explained by Lasswitz. That Gassendi was neither "the father of materialism" nor a sceptic in the proper sense is shown by Kiefi (see Baldwin, op. cit. below). He corresponded with Hobbes, Mersenne, Christina of Sweden, and engaged in controversy with Fludd, Herbert, and Descartes.

That as an amateur astronomer, Gassendi was a persevering, attentive, and intelligent observer, is evident from his notebook carefully kept from 1618 until 1652 and filling over 400 pages. With a Galilean telescope he observed the transit of Mercury in 1631, predicted by Kepler, by projecting the sun's image on a screen of paper. His instrument was not strong enough, however, to disclose the occultations and transits of Jupiter's satellites, or the true shape of Saturn's ring. The results of his astronomical work are analysed in Delambre's "Histoire de l'Astronomie Moderne" (Paris, 1821, II). Other works of minor importance refer to biographies, physics, and anatomy. Gassendi was in correspondence with Cassini, Galilei, Hevel, Kepler, Scheiner, Vallis, and other scientists. As to the Copernican system, he maintained that it rested on probabilities, but was not demonstrated, although he ably refuted all objections against it. To those whose conscience forbade them to accept Copernicanism, he said that the Tychonian system recommended itself as the most probable of all (Op. V, De Rebus Caelestibus, V).

In character, Gassendi was retiring and unpretentious. With friends, he would give way to a humorous and ironical vein; in controversy, he observed the Socratic method. On Sundays and feast days he never omitted celebrating Mass; and when in Paris, he went to the church of his friend, Père Mersenne. In his last illness he asked for the Viaticum three times and for extreme unction, and his aspirations were words from the Psalms. Gassendi was esteemed by all, and loved by the poor for whom he provided in lifetime and in his last will. He founded two anniversary Masses for himself, one to be said in the cathedral of Digne, and one in the chapel of his friend, Monmort, at St-Nicolas-des-champs, Paris, where he was buried. The accompanying picture represents his marble bust in that mausoleum. The assertion that he was a Minorite is without foundation.

Gassendi's "Opera Omnia" were edited in 6 vols., Lyons, 1658, and Florence, 1727.

Armand David

Missionary priest and zoologist, b. 1826; d. 1900. He entered the Congregation of the Mission in 1848, having already displayed great fondness for the natural sciences. Ordained in 1862, he was shortly afterwards sent to Peking, and began there a collection of material for a museum of natural history, mainly zoological, but in which botany and geology and palæontology were also well represented. At the request of the French Government important specimens from his collection were sent to Paris and aroused the greatest interest. The Jardin des Plantes commissioned him to undertake scientific journeys through China to make further collections. He succeeded in obtaining many specimens of hitherto unknown animals and plants, and the value of his comprehensive collections for the advance of systematic zoology and especially for the advancement of animal geography received universal recognition from the scientific world. 

He himself summed up his labours in an address delivered before the International Scientific Congress of Catholics at Paris in April, 1888. He had found in China altogether 200 species of wild animals, of which 63 were hitherto unknown to zoologists; 807 species of birds, 65 of which had not been described before. Besides, a large collection of reptiles, batrachians, and fishes was made and handed over to specialists for further study, also a large number of moths and insects, many of them hitherto unknown, were brought to the museum of the Jardin des Plantes. 

What Father David's scientific journeys meant for botany may be inferred from the fact that among the rhododendrons which he collected no less than fifty-two new species were found and among the primulæ about forty, while the Western Mountains of China furnished an even greater number of hitherto unknown species of gentian. The most remarkable of hitherto unknown animals found by David was a species of bear (ursus melanoleucus, the black-white bear) which is a connecting link between the cats and bears. Another remarkable animal found by him received the scientific name of elaphurus davidianus. Of this animal the Chinese say that it has the horns of the stag, the neck of the camel, the foot of the cow, and the tail of the ass. It had disappeared with the exception of a few preserved in the gardens of the Emperor of China, but David succeeded in securing a specimen and sent it to Europe. In the midst of his work as a naturalist Father David did not neglect his missionary labours, and was noted for his careful devotion to his religious duties and for his obedience to every detail of his rules.

Stephen Joseph Perry

Born in London, August, 1833; d. 27 Dec. 1889. He belonged to a well-known Catholic family. His schooling was first at Gifford Hall, and then at the Benedictine College, Douai, where he proceeded to Rome to study for the priesthood. Having resolved to enter the Society of Jesus, he entered the novitiate (1853-5) first at Hodder, and then at Beaumont Lodge, after which he pursued his studies at St. Acheul, near Amiens, and at Stonyhurst. In consequence of his marked bent for mathematics, he was sent to attend the lectures of professor De Morgan, in London, and those of Bertrand, Lionville, Delaunay, Cauchy, and Serret, in Paris. In the autumn of 1860 he was recalled to Stonyhurst to teach physics and mathematics, likewise taking charge of the observatory.

In 1863 he commenced his theological studies at St. Beuno's, N. Wales, and was ordained in 1866. He resumed his former duties at Stonyhurst, which during the rest of his life were uninterrupted, save by special scientific engagements. In company with Father Walter Sidgreaves, he made magnetic surveys, in 1868, of Western, in 1869 of Eastern, France, and in 1871 of Belgium. In 1870 he went in charge of a government expedition to observe a solar eclipse at Cadiz; at Carriacou (West Indies) in 1886; in Moscow in 1887; and at the Salut islands in 1889, on which journey he lost his life.

In 1874 he headed a party similarly sent to Kerguelen in the South Indian Ocean, to observe a transit of Venus, when he also took a series of observations to determine the absolute longitude of the place, and others for the magnetic elements, not only at Kerguelen itself, but, on his way to and fro, at the Cape, Bombay, Aden, Port Said, Malta, Palermo, Rome, Naples, Florence, and Moncalieri. He likewise drew up a Blue-book on the climate of "The Isle of Desolation", as Kerguelen was called by Captain Cook.

In 1882 he went again with W. Sidgreaves, to observe a similar transit in Madagascar, and he again took advantage of the occasion for magnetic purposes. In 1874 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society.

At Stonyhurst, while he greatly developed the meteorological work of the observatory, and in the province of astronomy made frequent observations of Jupiter's satellites, of stellar occultations, of comets, and of meteorites, it was in the department of solar physics that he specially laboured, particular attention being paid to spots and faculæ. For observation in illustration of these an ingenious method was devised and patiently pursued. Father Perry was moreover, much in request as a lecturer. He died while actually performing the duty assigned to him in conducting an eclipse expedition in the pestilential group misnamed the "Islesde Salut". The observation on this occasion was exceedingly successful, and Father Perry, though already severely indisposed, managed to perform his part without interruption. As soon as it was over, however, he became alarmingly worse, and having gotten on board the H.M.S. "Comus", which had been detained for the service, he died at sea five days later, 27 Dec., 1889. He was buried in the Catholic cemetery at Georgetown, Demerara. An account of his life and scientific works by Cortie is published by the Catholic Truth Society.