Categories: Virginia Notables.
Matthew Fontaine Maury, nicknamed "Pathfinder of the Seas" and "Father of Modern Oceanography and Naval Meteorology" was an American oceanographer, astronomer, historian, meteorologist.
He was born on 14 January 1806 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, the son of Richard Maury and Diane Minor. He was the grandson of Reverend James Maury.
Matthew entered the U.S. Navy in 1825 and spent the next nine years on worldwide sea voyages. In 1839 a stagecoach accident left him permanently lamed. Considered unfit for active duty, in 1842 he was appointed superintendent of the Naval Observatory's Depot of Charts and Instruments.
There he compiled information from numerous ships' logs, and gained an international reputation for his research in navigation, oceanography, and meteorology. By interpreting the crossing of the trade winds at the equator, he designed shipping routes which shortened an Atlantic-Pacific crossing by 40 days. His most famous work, The Physical Geography of the Sea (1855), was the first textbook on modern oceanography.
In 1861 Maury became a commodore in the Confederate Navy;
He is known as the "Pathfinder of the Seas.".
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