Record

Authorised form of nameMolyneux; William (1656 - 1698)
SurnameMolyneux
ForenamesWilliam
Dates1656 - 1698
NationalityBritish
Dates and placesBirth:
His father's house in New Row, Dublin, Ireland (17 April 1656)
Death:
Dublin, Ireland (11 October 1698)
Burial:
Tomb of Sir William Ussher, north aisle of St Audoen's Church, Dublin, Ireland
ActivityResearch Field:
Astronomy, physics
Education:
Trinity College, Dublin BA, LLD (1693); Middle Temple (admitted 1675)
Career:
Published 'Six Metaphysical Meditations' (London, 1680), a translation of Descartes 'Meditationes' (1641); Joint Chief Engineer and Surveyor-General of the King's Buildings and Works in Ireland (1684-1688); founder of Dublin Philosophical Society officially constituted as The Dublin Society for the Improving of Naturall Knowledge, Mathematicks, and Mechanicks (1684); travelled in Holland, France and Germany (1685); designed a sundial-mounted telescope (1685) and published an account of it in Sciothericum Telescopium (Dublin, 1686); published Dioptrica Nova (London, 1692), the first optical treatise to be published in English; lived in Chester (1689-90); MP for City of Dublin and then Dublin University in the Irish Parliament (1690, 1692); originated the 'Molyneux Problem' proposed to John Locke (1693); published 'The Case of Ireland's Being Bound by Acts of Parliament in England Stated' (Dublin, 1698)
Memberships:
Dublin Philosophical Society (1683, Founder member)
Royal Society activityMembership:
Fellow
Election Date:
3/02/1686
RelationshipsSon of Samuel Molyneux and his wife, Margaret, daughter of William Dowdall of Dublin; married Lucy, daughter of Sir William Domville, Attorney-General of Ireland; brother of Sir Thomas Molyneux (FRS 1686); father of Samuel Molyneux (FRS 1712)
SourcesSources:
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB; Irish Innovators
References:
K Theodore Hoppen, 'The Royal Society and Ireland: William Molyneux, FRS (1656-1698)' in NR 1963 vol 18 pp 125-135, plate
K Theodore Hoppen, 'The Royal Society and Ireland. II' in NR 1965 vol 20 pp 78-99
P Fontes da Costa, 'The Culture of Curiosity at The Royal Society in the first half of the eighteenth century', NR 2002 vo l56 pp 147-166
W Hayes, 'Physics as well as poetry. Physicists of Ireland, edited by M McCartney and A Whitaker' in NR 2003 vol 57 pp 245-246
Royal Society codeNA5638
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EL/H3/43Edmond Halley, dated at London, to William Molyneux27 May 1686
RBO/8/31'Remarks on Mr Hautefeviles method for shortening Telescopes without lessening the effect' by Dr William Molyneux1698
EL/M1/89William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Francis Aston5 February 1685
EL/M1/101Copy of a letter from William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Hans Sloane1698
EL/M1/90William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Francis Aston27 October 1685
EL/M1/86Letter from William Molyneux, dated at Dublin9 October 1684
EL/M1/88William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Francis Aston27 December 1684
EL/T/48George Tollet, dated at Dublin, to William Molyneux17 July 1686
EL/T/49George Tollet, dated at Dublin, to William Molyneux21 September 1686
EL/T/47Copy of a letter from George Tollet, dated at Dublin, to William Molyneux1686
EL/A/33Minutes of the Dublin Philosophical Society, sent by St George Ashe, dated at Trinity College Dublin24 November 1685
EL/M1/93William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Francis Aston14 November 1685
EL/H3/41Edmond Halley to William Molyneux27 March 1686
EL/M1/95William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Edmond Halley15 May 1686
EL/M1/96William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Edmond Halley19 June 1686
EL/M1/94William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Edmond Halley8 April 1686
EL/M1/97Letter from William Molyneux, dated at Dublin20 July 1686
EL/M1/85William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Francis Aston7 June 1684
EL/M1/100William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Hans Sloane22 January 1698
RBO/6/121'A Dioptrick Probleme Why four Convex glasses in a Telescope shew Objects Erect' by William Molyneuxnd
RBO/6/128Table showing observations of the lunar eclipse on 19 November 1686 by William Molyneux1686
RBO/6/107'A Discourse on this Problem; why Bodies dissolved in Menstrua specifically lighter, than themselves swim therein' by William Molyneux1686
RBO/6/120'An Account of the course of the Tides in the port of Dublin in Ireland' by William Molyneuxnd
IM/005253Molyneux, Williamnd
CLP/2/4Paper, 'A demonstration of an error committed by common surveyors in comparing of surveys taken at long intervals of time arising from the variation of the magnetick needle' by William Molyneux1697
RBO/7/35'Concerning the apparent magnitude of the Sun and Moon Or the Apparent Distance of two starrs, when Nigh the Horizon and when Higher Elevated' by William Molyneux dated 10 March 1687 at Dublin1687
CLP/6/43Paper, account of the course of the tides at the port of Dublin by William Molyneux[17th Century]
CLP/2/14Paper, 'A dioptick problem why four convex glasses in a telescope shew objects erect' by William Molyneux3 November 1686
CLP/6/42Paper, account of dissolving bodies in menstrua by William Molyneux 1686
IM/003135Molyneux, Williamnd
CLP/8i/36Paper, observations of a lunar eclipse witnessed on 19 November 1686 at Dublin by William Molyneux1686
EL/A/36Letter, from St George Ashe to the secretary of the Royal Society, dated at Trinity College Dublin27 April 1686
EL/A/28Minutes of the Dublin Philosophical Society, sent by St George Ashe, dated at Trinity College Dublin30 May 1685
EL/M1/99William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Hans Sloane4 November 1697
EL/M1/84William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Francis Aston22 April 1684
EL/M1/87William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Francis Aston23 December 1684
EL/M1/92William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Francis Aston 12 November 1685
EL/M1/98William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Edmond Halley8 October 1690
EL/M1/91Latin translation of a letter from William Molyneux, dated at Dublin, to Francis Aston 1686
CLP/22i/33Paper, 'Sciothericum Telescopicum or a new contrivance of adapting a telescope to an horizontal dial for observing the moment of time by day or night' by William Molyneux[1687]
CLP/19/92Paper, answer to some queries proposed by William Molyneux concerning Lough Neagh by Edward Smith, Fellow of Trinity College Dublin[1685]
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