Memoir

H. A. Newton

March 19, 1830 - August 12, 1896


Election Year: 1863
Membership Type: Member

Hubert Anson Newton was a mathematician and astronomer who determined the orbits of meteors and comets, as well as the influence of planets on these orbits. Newton was a founding member of the National Academy of Sciences and one of the first researchers to use photography in his records of meteorological observations.

Newton graduated from Yale College in 1850 and was promoted to professor of mathematics at the college in 1855. He later moved to Paris in order to study higher geometry. Upon returning to the United States, he became interested in astronomy and observing meteors. Using the testimony of various people who had observed these “shooting stars,” he began charting their path and noting the differences according to the annual season. Eventually, Newton calculated the orbit of meteors relative to the sun and was able to predict their annual cycle for recurrent meteor showers.  Later, Newton expanded this research to observations of comets.

Newton was a member and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a vice president of the American Mathematical Society, a member of the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the American Meteorological Society.

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