Nathaniel Bowditch was born on 26th march 1773. he is among the early mathematicians of America. He is well remembered for his contributions to the fields of ocean navigation. He is believed to be the father of moren maritime navigation
Nathaniel Bowditch was born in Massachusetts. He was fourth among seven children to his parents. He left the school at the age of 10 to work in cooperage operated by his father. At the age of 14, in 1787, he started the study of algebra and after 2 years he was teaching himself calculus. He also studies Latin and French. In 1790 when he was seventeen years old, he pointed out an error in Principia and wrote a letter mentioning the same to a professor of Harvard University. Translation of Méchanique célest, a famous work by Pierre Simon Laplace, has been a significant achievement of Nathaniel Bowditch. This was a very lengthy work on theoretical astronomy and mathematics
Nathaniel Bowditch went on his first sea voyage in 1795. He was awarded the honorary degree of Masters in Arts by Harvard University in 1802. He was also the first actuary of America in insurance sector. He achieved this feet when he was the president of Essex Fire and Marine Insurance Company. He earned a significant recognition for his astronomical and mathematical works during the same time. In 1806 Harvard offered him the chair of physics and mathematics but Bowditch turned it down. He was also offered the chairs in mathematics byUniversity of Virginia and United States Military Academy, but he refused both the offers. By 1819 his reputation had gone international and his contributions to astrology and mathematics were noted all over the world.
Nathaniel Bowditch became inclined towards mathematics involved in celestial navigation during the time when he was at sea. he initially worked with “Navigator”, the tables published by John Hamilton Moore, but these tables had many errors. So Bowditch recomputed all the tables, rearranged Moore’s work and expanded it. American Practical Navigator, the collection of Bowditch’s work was first published in 1802.
Nathaniel Bowditch died due to stomach cancer in 1838. His body is buried in cemetery of Mount Auburn which is covered with a life size statue made up of bronze.