William Herschel, the guy who discovered Uranus (haw, haw), was born today, a long time ago. Phenomenal scientist and polymath – he would write symphonies, conduct them, and rush home during the intermissions to observe the heavens with his homemade reflector telescopes. His work ethic was astounding – days upon days of grinding mirrors, minimal food, no sleep, diseases and an eventual breakdown after attempting to cast a three-foot mirror. Look him up, and you’ll find yourself meeting one of the greatest astronomers who ever lived. The best place to learn about him would be Timothy Ferris’s brilliant history of cosmology ‘Coming of Age in the Milky Way’, which is one of the, if not the, most important book on science I ever read as a kid. Astronomy is one of my passions, and guys like Herschel remind me why I love it.
‘Half a dozen experiments made with judgment by a person who reasons well, are worth a thousand random observations of insignificant matters of fact.’
– W. Herschel