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Lt. Matthew Fontaine Maury

Lt. Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873) served as the first Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory from 1844-1861. He was promoted to the rank of Commander in 1858, effective retroactively to 1855. As Superintendent of the Naval Observatory Maury undertook both astronomical and hydrographic work, and became especially famous for his Wind and Current Charts. The charts greatly shortened transit times between oceanic ports and thereby promoted maritime commerce. Maury is considered the founder of oceanography, and his most famous book is Physical Geography of the Sea (1855). Maury was also one of the founders of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Painting by Beverly Stautz
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