Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc

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Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc

Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc (December 1, 1580June 24, 1637) was a French astronomer and savant who maintained a wide correspondence with scientists and was a successful organizer of scientific inquiry, whose own researches were not confined to the matter of determining the difference in longitude of various locations in Europe, around the Mediterranean, and in North Africa. He was born at Belgentier, Var, France and grew up in the wealthy noble family of a higher magistrate in Provence. He was educated in Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, and at the Jesuit college at Tournon. At Toulon, he first became interested in astronomy. He undertook a longer travel in Italy, Switzerland and France in 1599, and finally finished his legal studies in 1604 in Montpellier. After receiving his degree, he returned to Aix and took over his uncle's position as conseiller in the Parlement of Provence, under the president of the Parlement, Guillaume du Vair. He and du Vair travelled to Paris 1605–1606 and in 1607–1615, he served at Aix.

In 1610, his patron, du Vair, purchased a telescope. which Peiresc and Joseph Gaultier used for observing the skies, including Jupiter's moons.

Peiresc discovered the Orion Nebula in 1610; Gaultier became the second person to see it in the telescope. However, this discovery fell forgotten until 1916 when G. Bigourdan announced its recovery.

From 1615–1622, Peiresc again made a trip to Paris with du Vair. Later, he returned to Provence to serve as senator of sovereign court. He became a patron of science and art, studied fossils, and hosted the astronomer Gassendi from 1634–1637.

He passed away on June 24, 1637 in Aix-en-Provence.

Peiresc was honored by naming a lunar crater Peirescius (46.5S, 67.6E, 61 km diameter) in 1935.

External links

de Peiresc biography and references, Galileo Project at Rice University

References

  • G. Bigourdan, 1916. "La decouverte de la nebuleuse d'Orion (N.G.C. 1976) par Peiresc" in Comptes Rendus, Vol. 162, p. 489-490
  • Kenneth Glyn Jones, 1991. Messier's Nebulae and Star Clusters. 2nd ed, Cambridge University Press, p 337.
  • Jane T. Tolbert, "Fabri De Peiresc's Quest For A Method To Calculate Terrestrial Longitude" in Historian, Summer, 1999 e-text (http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2082/is_4_61/ai_56909071)sl:Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc
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