22.12.1666, КЕНТЕРБЕРИ - 07.02.1736, ЛОНДОН АНГЛИЯ
Английский астроном и физик. С 90-х годов до 1716 занимался астрономическими наблюдениями вместе с Флемстидом. В последние годы жизни сделал несколько открытий в электричестве, за что был награжден двумя медалями им.Копли (1731, 1732), член Королевского об-ва (1732).
Born: Canterbury, 1666 baptized 26 Dec. 1666
Died: London, 7 Feb. 1736
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
2. Father Occupation: Artisan Mathias Gray was a dyer, described (on what evidence I do not know) as
a rapidly rising artisan.
No adequate information on financial status.
Schooling: No University No university education. Probably studied in London or perhaps in Greenwich under John Flamsteed.
Somewhere he acquired working Latin.
5. Religion Affiliation: Anglican Pensioners of the Charterhouse had to be members of the established church.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Electricity, Astronomy Subordinate: Natural History From the 90s to 1716 Gray devoted his scientific energies to astronomical observations, quantitative and accurate, of eclipses, sunspots, the satellites of Jupiter, and the like. He was in constant correspondence with Flamsteed. It is clear that Gray was an accomplished observer, to the extent that Trinity College, Cambridge, hired him as an assistant
in its planned observatory. In the latter years of his life he devoted himself to electricity. In 1729 he discovered that electricity could be conducted. Threads are what he used
for this. He was awarded the Copley Medal in 1731 (the first award) and again in 1732
for his research on electricity. In his early letters to the Royal Society there is a lot of natural history.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Art Secondary: Miscellaneous, Patronage Until disabilities made it impossible, he was a dyer like his father. In 1707-8, Gray was resident in Trinity, as an assistant to Cotes in setting up the observatory there. I list this and the following item under
Miscellaneous. About 1715-19 (the exact dates are impossible to establish) he appears to have been resident with Desaguliers in Westminster, again serving him as
an assistant. Pensioner of the Charterhouse through the patronage of Prince of Wales,
1719 until his death.
8. Patronage Types: Scientist, Court Official, Gentry, Eccesiastic Official For the most part his long relationship with Flamsteed does not appear as patronage. It is impossible to imagine his appointment at Trinity without
Flamsteed's assistance, however. The positions with Cotes and Desaguliers occupy that hazy border between
patronage and mere employment. On the nomination of the Prince of Wales, he became pensioner of the
Charterhouse in 1719. In his later years Gray was frequently resident with John Godfrey, Esq., (who had also been, note, a patron of John Harris) of Norton Court, Kent, and with the Rev. Granville Wheler, a properous cleric, both of whom aided his experiments in electricity and gave him financial support.
9. Technological Involvement Type: Instruments Gray's early letters are filled with talk about instruments of various kinds, mostly involving magnification. He is credited with a microscope in which a drop of water was the lens. He ground lenses. He worked hard at improving sand and water glasses as devices better to measure time.
Some small instruments for electrical experiments.
10. Scientific Societies Membership: Royal Society Informal Connections: Intimate and lasting friendship (and correspondence) with Flamsteed. Cooperation with Wheler in electrical experiments. Friendship with Henry Hunt. Hunt supplied him with the Philosophical Transactions and transmitted to their editor the communications they
called forth from Canterbury. 63 manuscript letters survive, at the British Library, the Greenwich
Observatory, and the Royal Society. Royal Society, 1732-36. First receipient of the Copley medal, 1731, and
then again in 1732.
Sources 1.Dictionary of National Biography (repr., London: Oxford University Press, 1949-50), 8. W.P. Courtney, "Stephen Gray, F.R.S.," Notes and Queries, 6 (1906), 161-3, 354. 2.I.B. Cohen, Franklin and Newton, pp. 368-71. 3._____, "Neglected Sources for the Life of Stephen Gray," Isis, 45 (1954), 41-50. 4.J. Frederick Corrigan, "Stephen Gray (1696 [sic] - 1726). An Early Electrical Experimenter," Science Progress, 19 (1924), 102-14. 5.R.A. Chipman, "An Unpublished Letter of Stephen Gray on Electrical Experiment," Isis, 45 (1954), 33-40. 6._____, "The Manuscript Letters of Stephen Gray," Isis, 49 (1958), 414-33. 7.David H. Clark and Lesley Murdin, "The Enigma of Stephen Gray: Astronomer and Scientist (1666-1736)," Vistas in Astronomy, 23 (1979), 351-404. This
is at the moment the definitive work on Gray.
Not Available and Not Consulted 1.Michael Ben-Chaim, "Social Mobility and Scientific Change: Stephen Gray's Contribution to Electrical Research," British Journal for the History of
Science, 23 (1990), 3-24.
Compiled by: Richard S. Westfall Department of History and Philosophy of Science Indiana University
The Galileo Project Development Team: email@example.com
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