Dr. William Derham, F.R.S. (1657–1735)


    ON April 5, the bicentenary occurs of the death of Dr. William Derham, rector of Upminster, Essex, and for thirty-three years a fellow of the Royal Society. Born at Stoughton, near Worcester, on November 26, 1657, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1675 and took holy orders. In 1682 he was made vicar of Wargrave, Berkshire, but seven years later was appointed to Upminster, where he spent the remainder of his life and where he is buried. Derham united a sincere devotion to his calling with a passion for mathematical and philosophical studies. Elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1702, he contributed papers to the Philosophical Transactions on the motion of the pendulum in a vacuum, on sound, sunspots, Jupiter's satellites, the aurora borealis and other subjects. His separate writings included his “Physico-theology”, 1713; and his “Astro-theology”, 1715; while in 1726 he edited “The Philosophical Experiments … of Robert Hooke and other Virtuosoes”. He was made a canon of Windsor, and in 1730 the University of Oxford conferred upon him the degree of D.D. for his services in the cause of religion by his culture of natural philosophy.

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    Dr. William Derham, F.R.S. (1657–1735). Nature 135, 500–501 (1935). https://doi.org/10.1038/135500d0

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