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Edward Sabine

Sir Edward Sabine (October 14, 1788-May 26, 1883), English astronomer, scientist and explorer, was born in Dublin and died at East Sheen[?] in Surrey.

He was educated at the Royal Military Academy[?], Woolwich, and obtained a commission in the royal artillery at the age of fifteen. He attained he rank of major-general in 1859.

His only experience of warfare seems to have been at the siege of Fort Erie, Canada[?] in 1814. In early life he devoted himself to astronomy and physical geography, and in consequence he was appointed astronomer to various expeditions, among others that of Sir James Clark Ross (1818) in search of the Northwest Passage, and that of Sir William Edward Parry[?] soon afterwards.

Later, he spent long periods on the intertropical coasts of Africa and America, and again among the snows of Spitsbergen. He was a member of the Royal Commission of 1868-1869 for standardizing weights and measures. Sabine was for ten years (1861-1871) president of the Royal Society, and was knighted in 1869.

Of Sabine's scientific work two branches in particular deserve very high credit

  • Determination of the length of the second's pendulum[?], a simple pendulum whose time period on the surface of earth is two seconds, that is, one second in each direction.
  • Extensive researches connected with the Earth's magnetic field. He led the effort to establish a system of magnetic observatories in various parts of British territory all over the globe and a great part of his life was devoted to their direction, and to the reduction and discussion of their observations.

While the majority of his researches bear on one or other of the, subjects just mentioned, others deal with such widely different topics as the birds of Greenland, ocean temperatures, the Gulf stream, barometric measurement of heights, arcs of meridian, glacial transport of rocks, the volcanoes of the Hawaiian Islands, and various points of meteorology.



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