Record

Authorised form of nameSmyth; Charles Piazzi (1819 - 1900)
SurnameSmyth
ForenamesCharles Piazzi
Dates1819 - 1900
Dates and placesBirth:
Naples, Italy (03 January 1819)
Death:
Clova, near Ripon (21 February 1900)
Burial:
Sharow churchyard, Ripon, Yorkshire
ActivityEducation:
Research Field:
Astronomy
Career:
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.
Royal Society activityMembership:
Fellow
Election Date:
11/06/1857
Withdrew (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
Royal Society codeNA3757
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
AP/30/18Attempt to apply instrumental measurement to the Zodiacal Light 25 March 1840
IM/004171Piazzi Smyth, Charles2004
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
MS/626Tenerife Papers of Charles Piazzi Smyth1857
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, Meterological 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/3/252Referee'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/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
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
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/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
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/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/7/66Referee'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/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/3/254Referee'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/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
MS/698Photographs by Charles Piazzi Smyth of 'Cloud Forms that have been at Clova, Ripon'1892-1895
MM/19/104Printed letter to members of the Southern Telescope Committee, from Thomas Bell, Secretary, Southern Telescope Committee15 December 1852
MS/426/320Copy letter from S H [Samuel Hunter] Christie, Secretary of the Royal Society; to C P [Charles Piazzi] Smyth Esq10 March 1848
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
MM/12/70Letter from Charles Piazzi Smyth, London, to W H Smyth22 December 1852
EC/1857/12Smyth, Charles Piazzi: certificate of election to the Royal Society
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