William Radcliffe Birt
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William Radcliffe Birt FRAS (1804–1881) was an English amateur astronomer in the 19th century. Birt worked extensively with John Herschel, carrying out a great deal of meteorogical research on atmospheric waves, from 1843 to 1850. A lot of his work is held in the Scientist's Collection at the American Philosophical Society.
Probably on Herschel’s recommendation, Birt became involved with the Kew Observatory in the later 1840s under the Directorship of Francis Ronalds. He analysed and published the latter’s detailed atmospheric electricity and meteorological observations. They also worked together on a new design of kite for making meteorological recordings in the upper air. Birt was formally appointed in late 1849 as Ronalds’ assistant but their relationship soured shortly afterwards and Birt was requested by the Kew Committee to leave in mid-1850.
The lunar crater Birt is named after him.
- Forbes, Eric (1970–1980). "Birt, William Radcliff". Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 2. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-684-10114-9.
- Obituary in MNRAS, (1882), v. 42, p. 142-144.
- Vladimir Jankovic, 'John Herschel's and William Radcliffe Birt's research on atmospheric waves'
- Scientists Collection
- Works by William Radcliffe Birt at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about William Radcliffe Birt at Internet Archive
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