John Carroll (astronomer)

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John Anthony Carroll (8 January 1899 – 2 May 1974) was a British astronomer and physicist. In the 1920s he worked at the Solar Physics Observatory, Cambridge, UK with F.J.M. Stratton and Richard van der Riet Woolley.

Contributions to the development of computing[edit]

While Professor of Natural Philosophy at Aberdeen University, Carroll had been interested in acquiring desk computing machines for his students. These greatly reduced the labour in producing the mathematical tables needed in astronomy and other fields, including gunnery. In 1942 he became assistant director of research at the Scientific Research and Experiment Department, an Admiralty body which coordinated naval research departments. With Donald Sadler and John Todd, he formed the Admiralty Computing Service in 1943, which itself formed the basis for the NPL Mathematics Division when the Second World War ended in 1945. The NPL Maths Division offered a practical computing service and was also a centre of research into electronic computing and numerical analysis. From 1964 to 68 Carroll was professor of astronomy at Gresham College, London. By this time he had been knighted and was Sir John Carroll.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 16, 100, 1975