The Methods of Boscovich and Mayer

  • Richard William Farebrother
Part of the Springer Series in Statistics book series (SSS)


On 1 August 1714, Queen Anne died. As all nineteen of her children had either been born dead or had died in childhood, she was succeeded on the throne of Great Britain and Ireland1 by her distant relative2 George Louis (1660-1727), the Elector of Hanover3 (Germany), as King George I, and he by his son George (1683-1763) as King George II. In 1748, King GeorgeIImade a tour of his Hanoverian possessions, and, as Forbes (1980, p. 84) notes

“It was no coincidence that the formal decision of the Hanoverian government to establish an observatory in Göttingen was made only a few weeks after George II’s visit to the town on 1 August 1748. The King and his advisors well knew that precise astronomical observations were a necessary prerequisite for improvements in cartography and oceanic navigation. The Paris and Greenwich Observatories were institutional reminders of the links between theoretical and practical science; and the military and naval applications of accurate longitude and latitude determinations were not difficult to see.4[Indeed the Prussian] Field Marshal von Schmettau in Berlin had already been trying over a period of several years to encourage the Paris cartographers César-Francois Cassini de Thury and Joseph De L’Isle and the inheritors of the Homann Cartographic Bureau to participate in extending the French trigonometrical survey into and across Germany ”

Howerver George II had a different scheme in hand which crucially involved a cartographer by the name of Tobias Mayer.


French Translation Town Council Modern Reader Institutional Reminder Naval Application 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard William Farebrother
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economic StudiesVictoria University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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