Joseph Nicolas Delisle

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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.


Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de l’astronomie, de la géographie et de la physique. St. Petersburg, 1738.


Gnucheva, V. F. Geograficheskii departament Akademii nauk 18 veka. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.
References in periodicals archive ?
Joseph-Nicolas Delisle, whose energetic and sustained interest in the Venus transits drove much of the enthusiasm for the 18th-century expeditions, showed that carefully timed observations of either an ingress or an egress could well serve the enterprise, and thus Hawaii became one of the Delislean points (or Delilean, in Chauvin's orthography).
In the 1720s, Joseph-Nicolas Delisle simplified Halley's transit-observing technique.
As a youth of 21, he had come to Paris in search of his fortune and was hired as a draftsman by the astronomer Joseph-Nicolas Delisle.