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Jean Picard
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Scientist
    (July 21, 1620-July 12, 1682)
    Born in La Flech, France
    Catholic priest and first person to measure the circumference of the earth accurately
    Known for using high degrees of precision measurements unknown before his time to his work
    Attended Jesuit College Royal Henry-Le-Grande
    Wrote: Mesure de la Terre and Traite du nivellement
    Astronomy professor at College de France
    Founder and editor of Le Connaissance des temps ou des mouvements celestes
    Founding member of Academic Royale des Sciences
    Other discoveries/firsts included: using pendulum clocks and telescopic sights in astronomy, attaching a telescope to a quadrant, developing the method (still used) for measuring the right ascension of a heavenly object, and discovering barometric light
    His work contributed dramatically to making cartography more scientific and quantifiable
    Used surveying to make hydraulics used for pumping water more efficient
    His hair was horrible although it may have inspired Albert Einstein.
    Mesure de la terre and Traites du nivellement were his only published works.
    He quit college before graduating.
    Almost nothing is known about his early and private lives, including how and what got him interested in science.
    Most of his discoveries were not publicized until over sixty years after his death.
    He dropped out of college.
    Although an ordained Catholic priest, he seems to have never worked in a parish.
    He was the first person to measure the circumference of the Earth accurately. His measurement was '0.44% less than the modern value.' This was 24 times more accurate than the previous measurements and was used by Isaac Newton in his theory of gravitation.
    Along with Newton, he worked with many other scientists of his time including Christaan Huyges, Ole Romer, Johann Hudde, and Oleg Cassini.
    He is the namesake of a Star Trek character, a lunar crater, a pyramid in France, and an orbiting solar observatory.
    He was described as 'shy and modest' and historian Albert van Helder wrote, '...it is now evident just how much modern precision measuring owes to the quiet, unassuming an who stayed out of the limelight.'

Credit: tom_jeffords


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