Record

Authorised form of nameSmyth; Charles Piazzi (1819 - 1900)
Dates1819 - 1900
Place of birthNaples, Italy
Date of birth03 January 1819
Place of deathClova, near Ripon
Date of death21/02/1900
Dates and placesBurial:
Sharow churchyard, Ripon, Yorkshire
Research fieldAstronomy
ActivityCareer:
Assistant in the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope (1835-1845), cooperated with Sir Thomas Maclear in the extension of Lacaille's arc; produced oldest known calotypes of people and scenes in Southern Africa with the help of John Herschel; Astronomer Royal for Scotland and Regius Professor of Astronomy, University of Edinburgh (1845-1888), introduced time service for Edinburgh with time ball on the Nelson monument and later a time gun fired from Edinburgh Castle (1861); resigned Fellowship on 7 February 1874 on the Society denying him the reading of his paper on the interpretation of the design of the Great Pyramid, published "The Great Pyramid and the Royal Society"; Became obsessed with the metre - he believed the decimal system was foreign, French, and atheist. Claimed if the pyramids were measured very accurately, it was possible to tell that they were based on the British yard, given by God and built by the Hebrews. Led expeditions to Egypt to meausre them accurately to prove this. Use of the yard in the Pyramids proved there were common values between the founders of Egypt and the Anglo-Saxons, and so helped to justify the Conquest of Egypt in 1881-2.
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election11/06/1857
Date of ejection or withdrawalWithdrew (1874)
RelationshipsNamed after Giuseppe Piazzi FRS, his godfather; son of Admiral William Henry Smyth FRS; brother of Sir Warington Wilkinson Smyth FRS; married (1855) Jessie Duncan (d 1896)
SourcesSources:
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB
Virtual International Authority Filehttp://viaf.org/viaf/42647586
Royal Society codeNA3757
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
AP/30/18Unpublished paper, 'Attempt to apply instrumental measurement to the zodiacal light' by Charles Piazzi Smyth25 March 1840
MC/5/77Letter from Lord [John] Wrottesley, Wrottesley [Hall], to the Royal Society21 December 1852
IM/004171Piazzi Smyth, Charles2004
MC/4/210Letter from [Charles] Piazzi Smyth, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, to the Secretary of the Royal Society31 January 1848
MM/15/63Letter from CP Smyth, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, to WR Birt3 May 1869
MM/19/102Letter from William Henry Smyth to Thomas Bell, Secretary, Royal Society7 December 1852
AP/52/11On supra-annual Cycles of Temperature in the Earth's Surface Crust 1870
AP/52/7Tables by C P Smyth for his paper 'On supra-annual Cycles of Temperature in the Earth's Surface Crust'1870
NLB/5/186Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth, [Fellow of the Royal Society]10 April 1891
NLB/8/467Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth, [Fellow of the Royal Society]2 November 1893
NLB/13/37Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to John R Wood, 12 Pavement, York1 June 1896
NLB/14/368Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Hugh Frank Newall, Madingley Rise, Cambridge 24 February 1897
NLB/20/360Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to William Napier Shaw, Fellow of the Royal Society 2 April 1900
NLB/20/556Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to William Napier Shaw, Secretary, Meteorological Office, 63 Victoria Street, S.W.22 May 1900
NLB/20/564Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to John R Wood, 12 Pavement, York22 May 1900
RR/3/254Referee's report by George Biddell Airy, on a paper 'Astronomical experiment on the peak of Teneriffe, carried out under the sanction of the lords commissioners of the admiralty' by Charles Piazzi Smyth2 February 1858
RR/3/252Referee's report by James Challis, on a paper 'Astronomical experiment on the peak of Teneriffe, carried out under the sanction of the lords commissioners of the admiralty' by Charles Piazzi Smyth20 October 1857
RR/7/70Letter from Charles Piazzi Smyth, on his paper 'Certain supra-annual cycles of temperature in the earth's surface crust' to the Secretary of the Royal Society29 December 1870
RR/7/69Letter from George Gabriel Stokes, on a paper 'Certain supra-annual cycles of temperature in the earth's surface crust' to Charles Piazzi Smyth22 December 1870
RR/7/66Referee's report by Balfour Stewart, on a paper 'Certain supra-annual cycles of temperature in the earth's surface crust' by Charles Piazzi Smyth19 May 1870
RR/7/68Letter from Charles Piazzi Smyth, on his paper 'Certain supra-annual cycles of temperature in the earth's surface crust' to the Secretary of the Royal Society21 November 1870
RR/3/253Referee's report by Charles Lyell, on a paper 'Astronomical experiment on the peak of Teneriffe, carried out under the sanction of the lords commissioners of the admiralty' by Charles Piazzi Smyth20 February 1858
MM/19/104Printed letter to members of the Southern Telescope Committee, from Thomas Bell, Secretary, Southern Telescope Committee15 December 1852
MS/626Tenerife Papers of Charles Piazzi Smyth1856-1857
MM/12/70Letter from Charles Piazzi Smyth, London, to W H Smyth22 December 1852
RR/7/67Referee's report by Francis Galton, on a paper 'Certain supra-annual cycles of temperature in the earth's surface crust' by Charles Piazzi Smyth22 May 1870
EC/1857/12Smyth, Charles Piazzi: certificate of election to the Royal Society
RR/3/251Referee's report by John Frederick William Herschel, on a paper 'Astronomical experiment on the peak of Teneriffe, carried out under the sanction of the lords commissioners of the admiralty' by Charles Piazzi Smyth7 September 1857
RR/3/255Referee's report by Charles Robert Darwin on a paper, 'Astronomical experiment on the peak of teneriffe, carried out under the sanction of the lords commissioners of the admiralty' by Charles Piazzi Smyth5 March 1858
MC/4/216Letter from [Charles] Piazzi Smyth, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, to the Secretary of the Royal Society14 February 1848
MC/4/218Letter from [Charles] Piazzi Smyth, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, to [Charles Richard] Weld, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society24 February 1848
MC/4/220Letter from [Charles] Piazzi Smyth, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, to [Samuel Hunter] Christie, Secretary of the Royal Society29 February 1848
MC/4/223Letter from [Charles] Piazzi Smyth, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, to [Samuel Hunter] Christie, Secretary of the Royal Society21 March 1848
MC/5/69Letter from Edward J [Joshua] Cooper, Markree Castle, Collooney, to [Thomas] Bell, [Secretary of the Royal Society]10 December 1852
MS/426/313Copy letter from C R [Charles Richard] Weld, the Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to C P [Charles Piazzi] Smyth Esq18 February 1848
MS/426/315Copy letter from C R [Charles Richard] Weld, the Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to C P [Charles Piazzi] Smyth Esq3 March 1848
MS/426/320Copy letter from S H [Samuel Hunter] Christie, Secretary of the Royal Society; to C P [Charles Piazzi] Smyth Esq10 March 1848
MC/4Volume 4 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1844-1850
MC/5/76Letter from John Phillips, St Mary's Lodge, York, to the Royal Society21 December 1852
MC/5Volume 5 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1851-1858
MC/6Volume 6 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1859-1863
MC/6/376Letter from C [Charles] Piazzi Smyth, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, to the Secretary of the Royal Society, London9 December 1863
MC/7/139Letter from Joseph Jopling, 6 Vassall Terrace, Campden Grove, Kensington, to [William Sharpey and George Gabriel Stokes], Secretaries of the Royal Society15 November 1864
MC/7Volume 7 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1864-1866
RR/1/229Referee's report by George Biddell Airy, on a paper 'Attempt to apply instrumental measurement to the zodiacal light' by Charles Piazzi Smyth19 June 1848
MC/9/269Letter from C [Charles] Piazzi Smyth, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, to the Secretary of the Royal Society25 October 1871
MC/9Volume 9 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1870-June 1873
MC/10/71Letter from C [Charles] Piazzi Smyth, 15 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, to [Joseph Dalton Hooker], President of the Royal Society7 February 1874
MC/10/79Letter from C [Charles] Piazzi Smyth, 15 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, to Dr Jos D [Joseph Dalton] Hooker, President of the Royal Society2 March 1874
MC/10/83Letter from C [Charles] Piazzi Smyth, 15 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, to Dr Jos D [Joseph Dalton] Hooker, President of the Royal Society12 March 1874
MS/698Photographs by Charles Piazzi Smyth of 'Cloud Forms that have been at Clova, Ripon'1892-1895
MC/10Volume 10 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal SocietyJuly 1873-1876
AP/30/18/1Unpublished manuscript, 'Attempt to apply instrumental measurement to the zodiacal light' by Charles Piazzi Smyth25 March 1848
AP/30/18/2Unpublished figures, 'Diagrams of the zodiacal light as seen on March 21, A M and P M in lat 56 S, and in lat 56 N' by Charles Piazzi Smyth1848
AP/30/18/3Unpublished figures, 'Diagrams of the zodiacal light as seen on Sept 21, A M and P M in L 56 S and L 56 N' by Charles Piazzi Smyth1848
AP/30/18/4Unpublished figures, plan and sectional views of the zodiacal light by Charles Piazzi Smyth1848
AP/30/18/5Unpublished figure, 'The great comet of 1843, as seen at the Cape of Good Hope [South Africa] on March 4th, in the evening' by Charles Piazzi Smyth1848
AP/30/18/6Unpublished figure, 'The zodiacal light as seen at the Cape [Cape of Good Hope, South Africa] in the evening, in July, 1845' by Charles Piazzi Smyth1848
AP/30/18/7Unpublished figure, 'The zodiacal light, as seen on the Breed [Breede] River, at the Cape of Good Hope [South Africa], June 18th 1844, at 5 A M' by Charles Piazzi Smyth1848
AP/30/18/8Unpublished diagram, 'Universal equatorial instrument for observing the zodiacal light' by Charles Piazzi Smyth1848
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