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Centenary of Maurice Loewy

Nature volume 131, pages 497498 (08 April 1933) | Download Citation



ON April 15 occurs the centenary of the birth of the distinguished astronomer, Maurice Loewy, who, from 1896 until 1907, held the directorship of the Paris Observatory, a post to which he was appointed on the death of Felix Tisserand. Born in Vienna in 1833 of Jewish parents, Loewy passed through the Polytechnic School and University of Vienna and then entered the old Imperial Observatory of the capital, where he was trained by Karl Littrow. Being invited to France by Le Verrier, he became a naturalised Frenchman and in 1864 joined the staff of the Paris Observatory, serving under Le Verrier, Delaunay, Mouchez and Tisserand. He took an active part in the completion of the great Paris Catalogue of Stars and in the inauguration of the International Star Chart. So early as 1871 he proposed to Delaunay the new form of telescope since known as the equatorial coudé, but it was not until 1882 that the first instrument of this kind was erected, the cost of the telescope then being defrayed by the generous banker Raphael Bischoffsheim (1823–1906), the founder of the Nice Observatory. A description of the instrument appeared in NATURE of November 8, 1883, p. 36. For thirty years Loewy was director of the Connaissance des Temps, and from 1872 was a member of the Bureau des Longitudes, taking part with Mouchez in the inauguration of the observatory in the Pare de Montsouris for the instruction of navigators and explorers. From 1873 onwards he was also a member of the Academy of Sciences. He received many honours from learned societies and in 1889 was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. He died suddenly on October 15, 1907, at the age of seventy-four years, when addressing a meeting of the Conseil des Observa-toires astronomiques.

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