John Frederick William Herschel was born March 7, 1792 in Slough, Buckinghamshire, England, the son of William F. Herschel and Mary Baldwin. He was the brother of Thomas Pit. John's father was an astronomer who put his efforts into building a telescope through which he could observe the heavens. He is remembered for having discovered the planet Uranus. Sir John is credited with determining Neptune was a planet instead of a star, as it was believed to be in his time
John Herschel had more varied interests and talents than his father. He grew up with astronomy but also cultivated an interest in math, photography and the idea of correcting imperfect vision. He was the first to use the terms, 'photography', 'negative', 'positive', and snapshot'. He invented the cyanotype process of photography which is also called the blueprint process. He developed the process so that he could organize notes and graphs but it is still used today as an art medium.
John Herschel's interest in the eye is worth noting. He researched corneal irregularities and astigmatism. He suggested vision could be improved by "neutralising the cornea." Herschel is mentioned in the history of contact lens. He hypothesized that gelatin molds might be used to correct vision. . His ideas were published in his article on Light in 1827 and in the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana in 1845.
John married Margaret Brodie Stewart on 3 March 1829 at Edinburgh. They had the following children:
John was created Baronet of Slough in the County of Buckingham in 1838 shortly after returning from a voyage to South Africa to map the stars. While he was there he met Charles Darwin. When HMS Beagle called at Cape Town, Charles Darwin visited Herschel on 3 June 1836. Later on, Darwin would be influenced by Herschel's writings in developing his theory advanced in The Origin of Species.
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John Frederick is 30 degrees from Rosa Parks, 21 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 9 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.