Biography of Percival Lowell

Biography of Percival Lowell

Biography of Percival Lowell

Biography of Percival Lowell

Excerpt

If genius is the capacity for taking infinite pains, Percival Lowell possessed it abundantly from his study of Esoteric Shinto, in his earlier life in Japan, to his great calculation of the position and orbit of an unknown planet beyond Neptune, at the close of his life. In determining facts he was thoroughly and rigidly scientific, leaving nothing unexplored that bore upon the subject; and in his astronomical investigations it became clear to him that better methods of doing it were required. At the outset, therefore, he set up his Observatory in an atmosphere steadier than that where the older telescopes, and almost all of those then in existence, did their work; thus seeing much not visible elsewhere.

But in addition to industry he had an inflammable intellect, easily ignited by any suggestion or observation, and when alight glowing in intensity until the work was done. He had also a highly vivid imagination, compared with many men of science who proceeded more cautiously; and hence he sought, not only to ascertain new facts, but to draw conclusions from them more freely than is customary with experts of that type. This he felt had often been true of those who made advances in scientific thought, and he regarded himself as standing for a time somewhat apart from most men in his own field. Such an attitude, and the fact that he had taken up observational astronomy in middle life, unconnected with any other scientific institution, tended to make many professional astronomers look . . .

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