Authorised form of nameChallis; James (1803 - 1882); astronomer
Dates1803 - 1882
Dates and placesBirth:
Braintree, Essex, England (12 December 1803)
Cambridge (03 December 1882)
Mill Road cemetery, Cambridge
Clergyman, Church of England
Research Field:
Trinity College, Cambridge. BA (1825, Senior Wrangler and Smith's Prizeman); MA
Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge (1826-1831); ordained (1830); vicar of Papworth Everard (1830-1852); Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy, University of Cambridge (1836-1852); Director, Cambridge University Observatory (1836-1861); observed Neptune before its official discovery in Berlin (1846); published works on astronomy, religion and education
Royal Society activityMembership:
Election Date:
VP 1851-1852
RelationshipsFourth son of John Challis; married (1831) daughter of Samuel Chandler of Tyringham, Buckinghamshire and widow of Daniel Copsey of Braintree
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB
David W Hughes, 'J C Adams, Cambridge and Neptune', review of H M Harrison, Voyager in Time and Space: The Life of John Couch Adams, Cambridge Astronomer in NR 1996 vol 50 pp 245-248
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA7554
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1848/04Challis, James: certificate of election to the Royal Society
MM/14/79Note from JC Adams supporting James Challis's application for a Royal Society grant to enable Mr Edward Walker to publish his Adams Prize essay28 September 1865
MC/3Volume 3 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1839-1843
MM/16/51Letter from James Challis, Cambridge, to C Taylor6 May 1879
MM/14/78Application from James Challis for a Royal Society grant to enable Edward Walker to publish his Cambridge University Adams Prize essay23 September 1865
IM/Maull/000785Challis, Jamesnd
RR/3/68Note by anonymous, on a paper 'On the problem of the three bodies' by James Challis1856
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/3/5Referee's report by James Challis, on a paper 'Account of pendulum experiments undertaken in the Harton Colliery, for the purpose of determining the mean density of the earth' by George Biddell Airy26 February 1856
RR/3/4Referee's report by James Challis, on a paper 'Account of pendulum experiments undertaken in the Harton Colliery, for the purpose of determining the mean density of the earth' by George Biddell Airy18 February 1856
RR/3/67Letter from James Challis, on his paper 'On the problem of three bodies' to unknown refereeJuly 7 1856
RR/3/153Referee's report by James Challis, on a paper 'On the figure, dimensions, and mean specific gravity of the earth, as derived from the Ordnance trigonometrical survey of Great Britain and Ireland' by Colonel H James24 June 1856
RR/4/67Referee's report by James Challis, on a paper 'On the total solar eclipse of July 18th, 1860, observed at Rivabellosa, near Miranda de Ebro, in Spain' by Warren De La Rue[1862]
RR/4/168Referee's report by James Challis, on a paper 'Appendix to the account of the earthquake-wave experiments made at Holyhead' by Robert Mallet25 June 1862
RR/6/199Referee's report by James Challis, on a paper 'On the lunar-diurnal variation of the magnetic declination, with special regard to the moon's declination' in animal bodies' by G Neumayer15 May 1867
RR/7/488Referee's report by James Challis, on a paper 'On the variations of the daily range of atmospheric temperature as recorded at the Kew Observatory' by Balfour Stewart4 December 1876
RR/6/71Referee's report by James Challis, on a paper 'On the solar variations of magnetic declination at Bombay' by Charles Chambers18 February 1869
RR/2/137Referee's report by James Challis, on a paper 'On the mean temperature of the observatory at Highfield House, near Nottingham, from the year 1810 to 1850' by Edward Joseph Lowe27 October 1851
RR/3/152Referee's report by James Challis, on a paper 'On the deflection of the plumb-line at Arthur's seat, and the mean specific gravity of the earth' by Colonel H James7 April 1856
RR/4/166Referee's report by James Challis on a paper 'Account of experiments made at Holyhead (North Wales) to ascertain the transit-velocity of waves, analogous to earthquake waves, through the local rock formations' by Robert Mallet27 July 1861
MS/426/107Copy letter from [Charles Richard Weld] the Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to Mons. [Adolph Stephanus] Rueb, University, Utrecht [The Netherlands]13 November 1844
MC/3/223Letter from [James] Challis, Plumian Professor, Greenwich Observatory, to Samuel Hunter Christie, Secretary of the Royal Society6 June 1842
Add to My Items

    Collection highlights

    Browse the records of some of our collections, which cover all branches of science and date from the 12th century onwards. These include the published works of Fellows of the Royal Society, personal papers of eminent scientists, letters and manuscripts sent to the Society or presented at meetings, and administrative records documenting the Society's activities since our foundation in 1660.

    The Royal Society

    The Royal Society is a Fellowship of many of
    the world's most eminent scientists and is the
    oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.
    Registered charity number 207043

    Website design ©CalmView


    + 44 207 451 2500
    (Lines open Mon-Fri, 9:00-17:00. Excludes bank holidays)

    6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG

    Email Us →


    Subscribe to our newsletters to be updated with the
    latest news on innovation, events, articles and reports.

    Subscribe →

    © CalmView