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Encyclopedia > Nathaniel Bowditch
Nathaniel Bowditch

Bowditch is often credited as the founder of modern maritime navigation.
Born: March 26, 1773
Salem, Massachusetts
Died: March 16, 1838
Boston, Massachusetts
Occupation: Mathematician, ship's captain, and actuary.

Nathaniel Bowditch (March 26, 1773March 16, 1838) was an early American mathematician remembered for his work on ocean navigation. He is often credited as the founder of modern maritime navigation; his book The New American Practical Navigator, first published in 1802, is still carried onboard every commissioned U.S. Naval vessel. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... March 26 is the 85th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (86th in leap years). ... 1773 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ...   Nickname: Witch City Settled: 1626 â€“ Incorporated: 1626 Zip Code(s): 01970 â€“ Area Code(s): 351 / 978 Official website: http://www. ... March 16 is the 75th day of the year (76th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... | Jöns Jakob Berzelius, discoverer of protein 1838 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Nickname: Location in Massachusetts, USA Coordinates: Country United States State Massachusetts County Suffolk County Government  - Mayor Thomas M. Menino (D) Area  - City  89. ... Leonhard Euler, one of the greatest mathematicians of all time A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study and research is the field of mathematics. ... Captain Sir Arthur Henry Rostron receiving a loving cup from Margaret Brown for his rescue of RMS Titanic survivors Main article: Seafarers professions and ranks Captain is the traditional customary title given to the person in charge of a ship at sea. ... Damage from Hurricane Katrina. ... March 26 is the 85th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (86th in leap years). ... 1773 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... March 16 is the 75th day of the year (76th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... | Jöns Jakob Berzelius, discoverer of protein 1838 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Leonhard Euler, one of the greatest mathematicians of all time A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study and research is the field of mathematics. ... Table of geography, hydrography, and navigation, from the 1728 Cyclopaedia. ... The American Practical Navigator , written by Nathaniel Bowditch, is an encyclopedia of navigation, a valuable handbook on oceanography and meteorology, and contains useful tables and a maritime glossary. ... The United States Navy (USN) is the branch of the United States armed forces responsible for naval operations. ...


Life and work

Bowditch, the fourth of seven children, was born in Salem, Massachusetts. At the age of ten, he was made to leave school to work in his father's cooperage, before becoming indentured at twelve for nine years as a bookkeeping apprentice to a ship chandler.   Nickname: Witch City Settled: 1626 â€“ Incorporated: 1626 Zip Code(s): 01970 â€“ Area Code(s): 351 / 978 Official website: http://www. ... A cooper readies the end of a barrel at the Van Ryn Brandy Cellar near Stellenbosch, South Africa The barrel is sealed with a lid, waterproofed using reed leaves, and the end-ring fitted Traditionally, a cooper is someone who makes wooden barrels, casks, buckets and other similar wooden objects. ... An Indentured servant is an unfree labourer under contract to work (for a specified amount of time) for another person, often without any pay, but in exchange for accommodation, food, other essentials and/or free passage to a new country. ... It has been suggested that Online bookkeeping be merged into this article or section. ... A ship chandler is a retail dealer in special supplies or equipment for ships. ...


In 1787, aged fourteen, Bowditch began to study algebra and two years later he taught himself calculus. He also taught himself Latin in 1790 and French in 1792 so he was able to read mathematical works such as Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. At seventeen, he wrote a letter to a Harvard University professor pointing out an error in the Principia; at eighteen, he copied all the mathematical papers he found in the Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Among his many significant scientific contributions would be a translation of Pierre-Simon Laplace's Méchanique céleste, a lengthy work on mathematics and theoretical astronomy. Algebra is a branch of mathematics concerning the study of structure, relation and quantity. ... Calculus (from Latin, pebble or little stone) is a major area in mathematics where infinitesimal data yields global information. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... Sir Isaac Newton, (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727) [ OS: 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727][1] was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist, regarded by many as the greatest figure in the history of science. ... Newtons own copy of his Principia, with handwritten corrections for the second edition. ... Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and a member of the Ivy League. ... The premises of The Royal Society in London (first four properties only). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Serendipity aided Bowditch's self-directed study inasmuch as he found himself able to use the eminent Irish chemist Richard Kirwan's library: a privateer from Salem had intercepted the ship carrying the library between Ireland and England and brought the library back to Salem in June 1791. Look up Serendipity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Autodidacticism (also autodidactism) is self-education or self-directed learning. ... A chemist pours from a round-bottom flask. ... Richard Kirwan (1733 – June 1, 1812) was an Irish scientist. ... A privateer was a private ship (or its captain) authorized by a countrys government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping. ...


In 1795, Bowditch went to sea on the first of four voyages as a ship's clerk and captain's writer. His fifth voyage was as master and part owner of a ship. Following this voyage, he returned to Salem in 1803 to resume his mathematical studies and enter the insurance business. (One of his family homes in Salem, the Nathaniel Bowditch House, still exists and has recently been restored.) 1795 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Captain Sir Arthur Henry Rostron receiving a loving cup from Margaret Brown for his rescue of RMS Titanic survivors Main article: Seafarers professions and ranks Captain is the traditional customary title given to the person in charge of a ship at sea. ... The Nathaniel Bowdith House, Salem, Massachusetts. ...


In 1804, Bowditch became America's first insurance actuary as president of the Essex Fire and Marine Insurance Company in Salem. Under his direction, the Company prospered despite difficult political conditions and the War of 1812. Damage from Hurricane Katrina. ... Combatants United States Great Britain Canada Bermuda Eastern Woodland Indians Commanders James Madison Henry Dearborn Jacob Brown Winfield Scott Andrew Jackson George Prevost Isaac Brock† Tecumseh† Strength •U.S. Regular Army: 35,800 •Rangers: 3,049 •Militia: 458,463* •US Navy & US Marines: (at start of war): •Frigates:6 •Other...


Bowditch's mathematical and astronomical work during this time earned him a significant standing, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1799 and the American Philosophical Society in 1809. He was offered the chair of mathematics and physics at Harvard in 1806, but turned it down. In 1804, an article on his observations of the Moon was published and in 1806 he published naval charts of several harbors, including Salem. More scientific publications followed, including a study of a meteor explosion (1807), three papers on the orbits of comets (1815, 1818, 1820) and a study of the Lissajous figures created by the motion of a pendulum suspended from two points (1815). The House of the Academy, Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... The American Philosophical Society is a discussion group founded as the Junto in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin. ... A chair or seat is also a seat of office, authority, or dignity, such as the chairperson of a committee, or a professorship at a college or university, or the individual that presides over business proceedings. ... Apparent magnitude: up to -12. ... Photo of a burst of meteors with extended exposure time A meteor is the visible path of a meteoroid that enters the Earths (or another bodys) atmosphere, commonly called a shooting star or falling star. ... m. ... Comet Hale-Bopp Comet McNaught as seen from Swifts Creek, Victoria, Australia on 23 January 2007 For other uses, see Comet (disambiguation). ... In mathematics, a Lissajous curve (Lissajous figure or Bowditch curve) is the graph of the system of parametric equations which describes complex harmonic motion. ... Simple gravity pendulum assumes no air resistance and no friction of/at the nail/screw. ...


As well as Harvard, the United States Military Academy and the University of Virginia offered Bowditch chairs in mathematics. Bowditch again refused these offers, perhaps (in the case of the University of Virginia) because the $2,000 salary offered was two-thirds of the salary he received as president of the insurance company. USMA redirects here. ... The University of Virginia (also called U.Va. ...


Bowditch's translation of the first four volumes of Laplace's Traité de mécanique céleste was completed by 1818. Publication of the work, however, was delayed for many years, most likely due to cost. Nonetheless, he continued to work on it with the assistance of Benjamin Pierce, adding commentaries that doubled its length. Benjamin Pierce (1757-1839) was a governor of New Hampshire in the 1820s. ...


By 1819, Bowditch's international reputation had grown to the extent that he was elected as a member of the Royal Societies of Edinburgh and London and the Royal Irish Academy. The Royal Society of Edinburghs Building on the corner of George St. ... ... The Royal Irish Academy (RIA) is one of Irelands premier learned societies and cultural institutions. ...


In 1823, Bowditch left the Essex Fire and Marine Insurance Company to become an actuary for the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance Company in Boston. There he served as a "money manager" (an investment manager) for wealthy individuals who made their fortunes at sea, directing their wealth toward manufacturing. Towns such as Lowell prospered as a result. Nickname: Location in Massachusetts, USA Coordinates: Country United States State Massachusetts County Suffolk County Government  - Mayor Thomas M. Menino (D) Area  - City  89. ... Investment management is the professional management of various securities (shares, bonds etc) and other assets (e. ... Nickname: Motto: Art is the Handmaid of Human Good Location in Massachusetts Coordinates: Country United States State Massachusetts County Middlesex County Settled 1653 Incorporated 1826 A city 1836 Government  - Type Manager-City council  - Mayor William F. Martin, Jr. ...


Bowditch's move from Salem to Boston involved the transfer of over 2,500 books, 100 maps and charts and 29 volumes of his own manuscripts.


Bowditch's American Practical Navigator

For more details on this topic, see American Practical Navigator.
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
The American Practical Navigator

During his time at sea, Bowditch became intensely interested in the mathematics involved in celestial navigation. He worked initially with John Hamilton Moore's London-published "Navigator", which was known to have errors. To have exact tables to work from, Bowditch recomputed all of Moore's tables, and rearranged and expanded the work. He contacted the US publisher of the work, Edmund Blunt, who asked him to correct and revise the third edition on his fifth voyage. The task was so extensive that Bowditch decided to write his own book, and to "put down in the book nothing I can't teach the crew." On that trip, it is said that every man of the crew of 12, including the ship's cook, became competent to take and calculate lunar observations and to plot the correct position of the ship. The American Practical Navigator , written by Nathaniel Bowditch, is an encyclopedia of navigation, a valuable handbook on oceanography and meteorology, and contains useful tables and a maritime glossary. ... Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ...

Frontispiece of the 1802 first edition of The American Practical Navigator.
Frontispiece of the 1802 first edition of The American Practical Navigator.

In 1802 Mr. Blunt published the first edition of Bowditch's American Practical Navigator, which became the western hemisphere shipping industry standard for the next century and a half. The text included several solutions to the spherical triangle problem that were new, as well as extensive formulae and tables for navigation. In 1866, the United States Hydrographic Office purchased the copyright and since that time the book has been in continuous publication, with regular revisions to keep it current. Bowditch's influence on the American Practical Navigator was so profound that to this day mariners refer to it by simply as Bowditch. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... --69. ... Bowditchs American Practical Navigator was written by Nathaniel Bowditch and published in 1802 and has remained the textbook of American sailors. ...

Legacy

Nathaniel Bowditch's memorial statue, in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Nathaniel Bowditch's memorial statue, in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Nathaniel Bowditch died in Boston in 1838 from lactosis. He is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, where a monument to him was erected through public collections. ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (2560x1920, 1072 KB) Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (2560x1920, 1072 KB) Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ... Mount Auburn Cemetery Mount Auburn Cemetery Hunnewell family obelisk Civil War memorial Founded in 1831 as Americas first garden cemetery, Mount Auburn Cemetery is an Elysium where, traditionally, chaste classical monuments were set in rolling landscaped terrain. ...   Settled: 1630 â€“ Incorporated: 1636 Zip Code(s): 02138, 02139, 02140, 02141, 02142 â€“ Area Code(s): 617 / 857 Official website: http://www. ... Mount Auburn Cemetery Mount Auburn Cemetery Hunnewell family obelisk Civil War memorial Founded in 1831 as Americas first garden cemetery, Mount Auburn Cemetery is an Elysium where, traditionally, chaste classical monuments were set in rolling landscaped terrain. ...


The statue itself, was the first life size bronze to be cast in America and was the creation of renowned sculptor, Robert Ball Hughes.


The following eulogy was written by the Salem Marine Society:

In his death a public, a national, a human benefactor has departed. Not this community nor our country only, but the whole world has reason to do honor to his memory. When the voice of eulogy shall cease to flow, no monument will be needed to keep alive his memory among men; but as long as ships shall sail, the needle point to the north, and the stars go through their wonted courses in the heavens, the name of Dr. Bowditch will be revered as of one who has helped his fellowmen in time of need, who was and is a guide to them over the pathless oceans, and one who forwarded the great interests of mankind.

The Oceanographic Survey Ship USNS Bowditch was named for him, as well as a lunar crater. USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62) is a Pathfinder class oceanographic survey ship. ... Bowditch is a lunar crater that lies on the far side of the Moon, just beyond the eastern limb. ...


In 1955, a book for younger readers, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, was published, portraying Bowditch's life as if from his point of view. Two middle schools and a dorm in America were also named for him, in Foster City, California, Salem, Massachusetts and Salem State College, respectively. Carry On, Mr. ... Middle school (also known as intermediate school or junior high school) covers a period of education that straddles primary education and secondary education, serving as a bridge between the two. ... A typical American college dorm room A dormitory or dorm is a place to sleep. ... Aerial view of Foster City Foster City is an affluent planned city located in San Mateo County, California. ...   Nickname: Witch City Settled: 1626 â€“ Incorporated: 1626 Zip Code(s): 01970 â€“ Area Code(s): 351 / 978 Official website: http://www. ... Salem State College is a four-year public institution of higher learning located in the city of Salem, Massachusetts. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Nathaniel Bowditch - LoveToKnow 1911 (233 words)
NATHANIEL BOWDITCH (1773-1838), American mathematician, was born at Salem, Massachusetts.
A life of Bowditch was written by his son Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch (1805-1861), and was prefixed to the fourth volume (1839) of the translation of Laplace.
In 1865 this was elaborated into a separate biography by another son, Henry Ingersoll Bowditch (1808-1892), a famous Boston physician.
Nathaniel Bowditch (1543 words)
Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Nathaniel was the fourth child of Habakkuk and Mary (Ingersoll) Bowditch.
Bowditch's son, Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, wrote Memoir of Nathaniel Bowditch (1840), which is also found prefixed to the fourth volume of the Mécanique céleste.
Nathaniel Bowditch (1838); John Pickering, Eulogy on Nathaniel Bowditch, LL.D., President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1838); and David Appleton White, An Eulogy on the Life and Character of Nathaniel Bowditch (1838).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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