Humans have gazed at the night sky for thousands of years, and found it pretty interesting. They learned that you could navigate using the celestial map and, over time, also learned that certain events could be predicted. These learned people were quite prized by their brethren, and their endeavors helped advance our understanding of the world.

Last Name

Cross-listed in Clergy

Nicolas Louis de Lacaille

aka: La Caille
1713, Dec 281730s-17611762, Mar 21
a French astronomer and priest. His desire to determine the distances of the planets trigonometrically, using the longest possible baseline, led him to propose, in 1750, an expedition to the Cape of Good Hope.
Links (1)

Cross-listed in Scientists

Joseph-Louis Lagrange

aka: Giuseppe Lodovico Lagrangia, Giuseppe Ludovico De la Grange Tournier, Giuseppe Luigi Lagrange, Lagrangia
1736, Jan 251813, Apr 10
an Italian Enlightenment Era mathematician and astronomer. He made significant contributions to the fields of analysis, number theory, and both classical and celestial mechanics.
Links (1)

Cross-listed in Writers

Jerome Lalande

aka: Jérôme
1732, Jul 111807, Apr 4
a French astronomer, freemason and writer. He communicated more than one hundred and fifty papers to the French Academy of Sciences, edited the Connoissance de temps (1759–1774), and again (1794–1807), and wrote the concluding two volumes of the 2nd edition of Montucla's Histoire des mathématiques (1802).
Links (1)

Cross-listed in Scientists

Johann Heinrich Lambert

1728, Aug 261777, Sep 25
a Swiss polymath who made important contributions to the subjects of mathematics, physics (particularly optics), philosophy, astronomy and map projections.
Links (1)

Cross-listed in GovernanceWritersScientists

Pierre-Simon Laplace

aka: Marquis de Laplace
1749, Mar 231771-18271827, Mar 5
an influential French scholar whose work was important to the development of mathematics, statistics, physics, and astronomy. He summarized and extended the work of his predecessors in his five-volume Mécanique Céleste (Celestial Mechanics) (1799–1825).
Links (13)Gallery (1)

Cross-listed in Commerce

William Lassell

1799, Jun 181880, Oct 5
an English merchant and astronomer. The crater Lassell on the Moon, a crater on Mars, the asteroid 2636 Lassell and a ring of Neptune are named in his honour.
Timeline (3)Links (9)

A. Laurent

a French amateur astronomer who discovered the asteroid 51 Nemausa in 1858, for which he was a recipient of the Lalande Prize awarded by the French Academy of Sciences. His first name is apparently unknown, and even his first initial is somewhat unclear.
Links (1)

Guillaume Le Gentil

aka: Guillaume-Joseph-Hyacinthe-Jean-Baptiste Le Gentil de la Galazière
1725, Sep 111792, Oct 22
a French astronomer. He was part of the international collaborative project organized by Mikhail Lomonosov to measure the distance to the Sun, by observing the transit of Venus at different points on the earth.
Links (3)Notes (1)

Cross-listed in Scientists

Urbain Le Verrier

1811, Mar 111877, Sep 23
a French mathematician who specialized in celestial mechanics and is best known for predicting the existence and position of Neptune using only mathematics.
Timeline (1)Links (1)

Cross-listed in Educators

Pierre Lemonnier

a French astronomer, a Professor of Physics and Philosophy at the Collège d'Harcourt (University of Paris), and a member of the French Academy of Sciences.
Links (1)

Cross-listed in ArtistsSculptorsArchitectsInventorsScientistsCartographers

Leonardo da Vinci

1452, Apr 151466-15191519, May 2
an Italian polymath whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. He has been variously called the father of paleontology, ichnology, and architecture, and is widely considered one of the greatest pain...
Links (2)

Joseph Johann Littrow

1781, Mar 131840, Nov 30
an Austrian astronomer. He became director of the Vienna Observatory in 1819. The crater Littrow on the Moon is named in his honor.
Links (1)

Karl L. Littrow

aka: Karl Ludwig Edler von Littrow
1811, Jul 181877, Nov 16
an Austrian astronomer. Born in Kazan, Russian Empire. He succeeded his father as director of the Vienna Observatory. He died in Venice, Italy.
Links (1)

Cross-listed in WritersInventorsScientists

Mikhail Lomonosov

1711, Nov 81742-17641765, Apr 4
a Russian polymath, scientist and writer, who made important contributions to literature, education, and science. Among his discoveries was the atmosphere of Venus and the Law of Mass Conservation in chemical reactions. His spheres of science were natural science, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, history, art, philology, optical devices and others. Lomonosov ...
Links (9)

Christian Sorensen Longomontanus

aka: Christian Sørensen
1562, Oct 41647, Oct 8
a Danish astronomer. He was not an advanced thinker. He adhered to Tycho's erroneous views about refraction, believed that comets were messengers of evil, and imagined that he had squared the circle. However, it was Longomontanus who really developed Tycho's geoheliocentric model empirically and publicly to common acceptance in the 17th century in his 1622 a...
Links (2)

Cross-listed in Governance

Sir William Lower

15701615, Apr 12
an English astronomer from the early telescopic period, and a Member of Parliament. He was born in Cornwall, and after studying at Exeter College, Oxford, he married and settled in South-west Wales. In 1607 he observed Halley's comet and took a number of careful measurements which he communicated to Thomas Harriot, by which it was determined that the comet w...
Links (3)

Cross-listed in ScientistsCommerceLegal

John William Lubbock

aka: 3rd Baronet
1803, Mar 261865, Jun 21
an English banker, barrister, mathematician and astronomer. In 1828 he became a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, in 1829 he became a fellow of the Royal Society, and has been described as "foremost among English mathematicians in adopting Pierre-Simo...
Links (1)

Robert Luther

1822, Apr 161900, Feb 15
a German astronomer who searched for asteroids while working in Düsseldorf. He discovered 24 of them. The asteroid 1303 Luthera and the crater Luther on the Moon were named in his honour.
Links (1)

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