Jeffreys, Sir Harold

born April 22, 1891, Fatfield, Durham, Eng.
died March 18, 1989, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

British astronomer and geophysicist.

In astronomy, he established that the four large outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) are very cold, devised models of their planetary structure, and studied the origin of the solar system and the theory of latitude. In geophysics, he investigated the thermal history of the Earth, was coauthor (1940) of the standard tables of travel times for earthquake waves, and was the first to hypothesize that the Earth's core is liquid. He explained the origin of monsoons and sea breezes and showed how cyclones are vital to the general circulation of the atmosphere. Jeffreys also worked on probability theory and on methods of general mathematical physics.

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▪ British astronomer and geophysicist

born April 22, 1891, Fatfield, Durham, England
died March 18, 1989, Cambridge
 British astronomer and geophysicist noted for his wide variety of scientific contributions.

      Jeffreys was educated at Armstrong College, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (D.Sc., 1917), and St. John's College, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, University of) (M.A., 1917), and was a fellow at St. John's from 1914. He served in the Meteorological Office (1917–22), lectured in mathematics at Cambridge (1923–32), was reader in geophysics at Cambridge (1932–46), and was the university's Plumian professor of astronomy (1945–58). He was knighted in 1953.

      In his work in astronomy, Jeffreys established that the four large outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) are very cold and devised early models of their planetary structure. His other astronomical work includes research into the origin of the solar system and the theory of the variation of latitude.

      In geophysics, he investigated the thermal history of the Earth, was coauthor (1940) of the standard tables of travel times for earthquake waves, and was the first to demonstrate that the Earth's core is liquid. He explained the origin of monsoons (monsoon) and sea breezes and showed how cyclones (cyclone) are vital to the general circulation of the atmosphere. Jeffreys also published seminal works on probability theory and on methods of general mathematical physics.

      Jeffreys was an effective critic of the mechanical feasibility of the theory of continental drift, a forerunner of modern plate tectonics. His skepticism of the possibility of convection in the Earth's mantle carried over to strong objections to plate tectonics as well—an opposition he maintained all his life in spite of mounting geophysical evidence that the theory was correct.

      Jeffreys's honours included the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1937) and the Royal Medal of the Royal Society of London (1948). Among his principal works, many of which went through multiple editions in his lifetime, are The Earth: Its Origin, History and Physical Constitution (1924), Theory of Probability (1939), Earthquakes and Mountains (1935), and Methods of Mathematical Physics (1946), written with his wife, Lady Bertha Swirles Jeffreys. The Collected Papers of Sir Harold Jeffreys was published in six volumes from 1971 to 1977.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Jeffreys , Sir Harold — (1891–1989) British astronomer and geophysicist Jeffreys was born in Birtley in the northeast of England and educated in Newcastle upon Tyne and at Cambridge University. After graduating in 1913 he was made a fellow of his college. He was reader… …   Scientists

  • Jeffreys, Sir Harold — (22 abr. 1891, Fatfield, Durham, Inglaterra 18 mar. 1989, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire). Astrónomo y geofísico británico. En astronomía, estableció que los cuatro grandes planetas exteriores (Júpiter, Saturno, Urano y Neptuno) son extremadamente… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Harold Jeffreys — Naissance 22 avril 1891 Fatfield (Angleterre) Décès 18 mars 1989 Cambridge (Angleterre) Nationalité anglais Champs Mathématiques, géophysique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Harold — /har euhld/, n. a male given name. * * * (as used in expressions) Alexander Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander 1st Earl Arlen Harold Barton Sir Derek Harold Richard Bloom Harold Clurman Harold Edgar Crane Harold Hart James Harold Doolittle… …   Universalium

  • Harold — (as used in expressions) Alexander, Harold (Rupert Leofric George) Alexander, 1 conde Arlen, Harold Barton, Sir Derek H(arold) R(ichard) Harold George Belafonte, Jr. Bloom, Harold Clurman, Harold (Edgar) Crane, (Harold) Hart James Harold… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • sir — /serr/, n. 1. a respectful or formal term of address used to a man: No, sir. 2. (cap.) the distinctive title of a knight or baronet: Sir Walter Scott. 3. (cap.) a title of respect for some notable personage of ancient times: Sir Pandarus of Troy …   Universalium

  • sir — (Voz inglesa.) ► sustantivo masculino Tratamiento honorífico empleado por los británicos. * * * sir (ingl.; pronunc. [ser]) m. *Tratamiento de respeto usado en Inglaterra delante de un nombre de hombre o para dirigirse a la persona de que se… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Harold Jeffreys — Sir Harold Jeffreys (* 22. April 1891 in Fatfield, County Durham, England; † 18. März 1989 in Cambridge, England) war ein britischer Mathematiker, Statistiker, Geophysiker und Astronom. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben und Wirken 2 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Harold Jeffreys — Nacimiento 22 de abril de 1891 Fatfield, Washington, County Durham, Inglaterra Fallecimiento 18 de marzo de …   Wikipedia Español

  • Harold Jeffreys — Infobox Scientist name = Harold Jeffreys box width = image width =150px caption = Harold Jeffreys birth date = 22 April 1891 birth place = death date = 18 March 1989 death place = residence = citizenship = nationality = ethnicity = field =… …   Wikipedia

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