Edmond Halley

Birth or Baptism date: 
November 8, 1656
Death or Burial date: 
January 17, 1742

Halley was a mathematician and second Astronomer Royal in Britain from 1720 until his death. As editor of Philosophical Transactions for volume 16 in 1686-1687 and later volumes 29 and 30 in 1714-1719, he published only one letter in volume 29, a letter that Leeuwenhoek had sent to the Royal Society two years previously.

Was he personally biased against Leeuwenhoek? Letters that he wrote to Leeuwenhoek in 1686 and 1687 show a respect and interest in Leeuwenhoek's work.

Halley was a mathematician and astronomer, so he favored articles on those topics. Only works of mathematics, astronomy, and what we know call physics were appropriate for publication. Hally published hardly any letters of observations of plants, humans, or other animals. In his introduction to Philosophical Transactions volume 16, he explains that editorial policy.

This struggle in the Royal Society over the physical sciences versus the biological sciences was finally resolved when the Philosophical Transactions split into parts A (physical) and B (biological) in 1887.

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