Joseph Nicolas Delisle
Delisle, Joseph Nicolas
Born Apr. 4, 1684, in Paris; died there Sept. 11, 1768. French astronomer and cartographer. Member of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1714). Brother of G. Delisle.
From 1726 to 1747, Delisle was a member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences and director of the Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg, where he carried out systematic observations. In 1737 he measured the 21.5-km base line (over the ice of the Gulf of Finland) between Petergof and Dubki (near Sestroretsk). In 1739-40 he was in charge of the geography department of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. Owing to the excessive demands he made regarding the cartographic materials of the Russian geodesists, he unduly delayed the compilation of the Atlas of Russia, which was published by the Academy of Sciences in 1745 after his removal as head of the geography department. Delisle secretly sent to France a large number of original maps of Russia as well as copies, part of which he published without the authorization of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, and was consequently deprived of the pension he had been granted after leaving the academy in 1747.