Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Cowell, Philip Herbert

  • Donald K. YeomansEmail author
Reference work entry

BornCalcutta, India, 7 August 1870

DiedAldeburgh, Suffolk, England, 6 June 1949

English mathematical astronomer Philip Cowell was the second of five children of Herbert Cowell and the former Alice Garrett. He was educated in England, first at the private school at Stoke Poges and then in 1883 at Eton as a King’s Scholar. At an early age, Cowell showed unusual mathematical ability, entering Trinity College in 1889 and graduating as senior wrangler in 1892. In 1896, he was appointed to the newly created position of second chief assistant at the Royal Greenwich Observatory. While he had no aptitude or interest in astronomical instruments, Cowell excelled in the reduction and analysis of astronomical observations. In 1910, he was appointed superintendent of the Nautical Almanac Office and continued the direction of this work until his retirement in 1930. Cowell died of cardiac asthma. In 1901, he married Phyllis Chaplin who died in 1924. They had no children.

For his early work on the...

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Selected References

  1. Cowell, Philip H. and Andrew C. D. Crommelin. “The Perturbations of Halley’s Comet in the Past.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society of London 68 (1907): 111–125; (1908): 173–179, 375–378, 510–514, 665–670.Google Scholar
  2. —(1908). “The Orbit of Jupiter’s Eighth Satellite.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society of London 68: 576–581.Google Scholar
  3. —(1910). “Investigation of the Motion of Halley’s Comet from 1759 to 1910.” Publikation der Astronomischen Gesellschaft, no. 23.Google Scholar
  4. Cowell, Philip H., Andrew C. D. Crommelin, and C. Davidson (1909). “On the Orbit of Jupiter’s Eighth Satellite.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 69: 421.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Jackson, J. (1949). “Dr. P. H. Cowell, F.R.S.” Nature 164: 133.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Whittaker, Edmund T. (1949). “Philip Herbert Cowell.” Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society 6: 375–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington DCUSA