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    Steven Wepster's thesis
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2007 Sep 18, 20:02 +0100

    Longstanding members, of this list and its predecessor, will remember the
    name of Steven Wepster, who used to provide learned contributions, and still
    maintains a website which is updated to provide lunar distances.
    He is the only fellow I know of who has taken successful lunars at sea from
    a really small boat, out in the Atlantic in a return passage from the
    Canaries to Holland.
    He dropped out of our list to concentrate on his study of Tobias Mayer's
    mathematics of the motion of the Moon, together with his duties teaching
    maths at the University of Utrecht.
    Now that project has come to fruition, with the production of his thesis,
    "Between theory and observations- Tobias Mayer's explorations of lunar
    motion, 1751-1755". It can be identified by the number ISBN
    Mayer's work, both in precise observation and in theoretical analysis,
    formed the basis of Maskelyne's lunar distance tables the Nautical Almanac,
    starting at the year 1767, and on those tables, the method of longitude by
    lunars was founded.
    Steven shows that Mayer's understanding of the complexities of the Moon's
    orbit was based, not on the work of other mathematicians (Euler and
    Clairaut) as had been supposed, but on some strikingly original thinking of
    his own, and on the construction of a mathematical model which fitted his
    own precise observations.
    Steven tells me that he has had just a few copies of his thesis produced,
    and that he has an agreement with a publisher for a future version in book
    form. But if you think you can handle the maths involved, and have a serious
    interest in Mayer's work, you might persuade him to part with one of those
    copies, if you ask him nicely, at-
     "S A Wepster" .
    At a ceremony in Utrecht on 25th September, he has to undergo an
    examination, in public, in which he defends his work against questioning by
    experts. This form of inquisition, which sounds positively mediaeval, is
    still how these things are done in Utrecht. We wish him success.
    contact George Huxtable at george---.u-net.com
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    To post to this group, send email to NavList@fer3.com
    To unsubscribe, send email to NavList-unsubscribe@fer3.com

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