Rumovskii, Stepan Iakovlevich
Born Oct. 29 (Nov. 9), 1734, at Staryi Pogost, Vladimir Province, now Kalinin Oblast; died July 6 (18), 1812, in St. Petersburg. Russian astronomer. Member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1767) and the Russian Academy (1783).
After the death of M. V. Lomonosov, Rumovskii directed the geography department of the Academy of Sciences for 30 years. In the period 1800–03 he was vice-president of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, and from 1803 to 1812 he was superintendent of the Kazan educational district. In 1761 he took part in an expedition to Selenginsk in Transbaikalia to observe the transit of Venus across the solar disk; in 1769 he traveled to the Kola Peninsula for the same purpose. Using information gained from the observations of these two transits, he obtained a value of the solar parallax (8”.67) close to that established in modern times. In 1862 he compiled and published Russia’s first catalog of 62 astronomical points; this was the result of many years of work by Russian astronomers.
Rumovskii was also known as a translator. He translated L. Euler’s Lettres à une Princesse d’Allemagne (vols. 1–3, 1768–74), Tacitus’ Annals (vols. 1–4, 1806–09), and individual parts of Buffon’s Histoire naturelle (1789). He was one of the compilers of the first etymological dictionary of the Russian Academy (parts 1–6, 1789–94).