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Biographical entry Maury, Matthew Fontaine (1806 - 1873)

Virginia, United States of America
Meteorologist and Naval officer


Matthew Maury was a Naval Officer in the United States of America, however in 1839 he was involved in a coach accident and became lame and unfit for active service. He was thus appointed Superintendent of the Navy's Depot of Charts and Instruments (1841-1861) where he studied the weather logs of the naval voyages. The aim was to analyse the wind and current data to improve the speed of ocean travel. His predictions were proved correct when a ship following Maury's instructions and his new wind and current charts, arrived back in Baltimore 35 days earlier than expected. By 1855 Maury had a model of the general circulation of the atmosphere. He was largely responsible for the holding of the first international meteorological conference in Brussels, August 1853, whose main objective was to achieve a uniform system of meteorological observations at sea. After leaving the Navy Maury was appointed Professor of Meteorology at the Virginia Military Institute (1861-1873).

Published resources


  • Gibbs, W. J., The Origins of Australian Meteorology, Metarch Papers No. 12 (Bureau of Meteorology, 1998). Details


Resource Sections

See also

McCarthy, G.J.