MAYER (Tobias)

, one of the greatest astronomers and mechanists of the 18th century, was born at Maspach, in the duchy of Wirtemberg, 1723. He taught himself mathematics, and at 14 years of age designed machines and instruments with the greatest dexterity and justness. These pursuits did not hinder him from cultivating the Belles Lettres. He acquired the Latin tongue, and wrote it with elegance. In 1750, the university of Gottingen chose him for their mathematical professor; and every year of his short life| was thenceforward marked with some confiderable discoveries in geometry and astronomy. He published several works in this way, which are all accounted excellent of their kind; and some papers are inserted in the second volume of the Memoirs of the University of Gottingen. He was very accurate and indefatigable in his astronomical observations; indeed his labours seem to have very early exhausted him; for he died worn out in 1762, at no more than 39 years of age.

His Table of Refractions, deduced from his astronomical observations, very nicely agrees with that of Doctor Bradley; and his Theory of the Moon, and Astronomical Tables and Precepts, were so well esteemed, that they were rewarded by the English Board of Longitude, with the premium of three thousand pounds, which sum was paid to his widow after his death. These tables and precepts were published by the Board of Longitude in 1770.

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Entry taken from A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary, by Charles Hutton, 1796.

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MAUNDY Thursday
MAUPERTUIS (Peter Louis Morceau de)
* MAYER (Tobias)