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Matthew Fontaine Maury
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    (January 14, 1806-February 1, 1873)
    Born in Sotsylvania County, Virginia
    Oceanographer, cartographer and meteorologist
    First Superintendent of the US Naval Observatory (1842-61)
    Wrote 'A New Theoretical and Practical Treatise on Navigation' (1836) and 'The Physical Geography of the Sea' (1855)
    Nicknamed 'Pathfinder of the Seas'
    At the start of the Civil War, he resigned from the US Navy, joined the Confederacy, and went to Europe to acquire ships and supplies.
    He developed an electric naval mine that the US Secretary of the Navy said 'cost the Union more vessels than all other causes combined.'
    After the Civil War, he joined Emperor Maximilian and tried to convince Confederates to settle in Mexico with their slaves.
    He advocated creating a Naval Academy to match West Point.
    He used data from thousands of ships logs stored at the Naval Observatory to map wind and ocean currents.
    His charts enabled ships to cut the time for a voyage from New York to San Francisco by over a month.
    His system for recording oceanographic data was adopted internationally.
    He convinced nations controlling three-quarters of the world's shipping to share their oceanographic observations.
    He was consulted on the route for the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable (1853).

Credit: C. Fishel

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