Safford, Truman Henry
BornRoyalton, Vermont, USA, 6 January 1836
DiedNewark, New Jersey, USA, 13 June 1901
Truman Henry Safford’s research and professional careers are illustrative of the challenges faced by astronomers in the United States during the second half of the nineteenth century. At times, using the largest telescopes in the United States, Safford had a productive, but not spectacular, career in positional astronomy, celestial mechanics, and study of the personal equation. Caught up in the leadership conflict among American astronomers in the 1860s, he was denied the directorship of Harvard College Observatory and spent most of the remainder of his career facing significant obstacles to research.
The son of a farmer and a school teacher, Safford was a mathematical prodigy. By age 10, he had a command of plane and spherical trigonometry and analytical geometry and had prepared an almanac. That year, he attracted the attention of Benjamin Peirce, Harvard’s Perkins Professor of Mathematics and...
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