BURCKHARDT

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BURCKHARDT, John Charles; member of the royal French academy of sciences, one of the first astronomical calculators m Europe, born at Leipsic, April 30, 1773, applied himself to mathematics, and acquired a fondness for astronomy from the study of the works of LaJande. He applied himself particularly to the calculation of solar eclipses, and the occultation of certain stars, for the determination of geographical longitudes. He made himself master, at the same time, of nearly all the European languages. Professor Hindenburg induced him to write a Latin treatise on the combinatory analytic method (Leipsic, 1794), and recommended him to baron von Zach, with whom he studied practical astronomy at his observatory on the Seeberg near Goth'a, and whom he assisted, from 1795 to 1797, in observing"L. ii. 28 the right ascension of the stars. Von Zach recommended him to Lalande, at Paris, who received him at his house, Dec. 15, 1797. Here he distinguished himself by the calculation of the orbits of comets, participated in all the labors of Lalande, and those of his nephew, Lefrancois Lalande, took an active part in the observatory of the ecole militaire, and translated the two first volumes of Laplace's Mecanique Celeste into German (Berlin, 1800). Being appointed adjunct astronomer by the board of longitude, he received letters of naturalization as a French citizen, Dec. 20, 1799. His important treatise on the comet of 1770, which had not been visible for nearly 30 years, although, according to the calculations of its orbit, it should have returned every five or six, was rewarded with a gold medal, by the institute, in 1800. This treatise, which proposed some improvements in doctor Gibers' mode of calculation, is contained in the Mem, de VInstitute 1806. During this year, he was made a member of the department of physical and mathematical sciences in the academy; in 1818, was made a member of the board of longitude, and, after Lalande's death, astronomer in the observatory of the military school. In 1814 and 1816, he published in French, at Paris, Tables to assist in Astronomical Calculations. He also wrote some treatises in von Zach's Geographical Ephemerides. His labors in the board of longitude were particularly valuable. He died in 1825.