The life and times of Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838) presented by Essex Shipbuilding Museum Tuesday, Nov 1st

Join us at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum for The Life and Times of Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838. Guest speaker Prof. George Brandenburg, ret., former Director of Laboratory for Particle Physics and Cosmology, Harvard University .


Bowditch didn’t attend school after age 12, let alone go to Harvard, yet he managed to teach himself Latin, French, mathematics and astronomy.  He learned math and physics well enough to make world-renowned contributions in both fields. As a young man he made five sea voyages, rising from second mate to captain, and along the way authored the well-known maritime manual "The New American Practical Navigator." This book, commonly called "Bowditch," made it possible for generations of sailors to navigate around the oceans with only the sun, moon, and stars to guide them. He retired from the sea as a captain at the age of 31 and put his mathematical skills to work as an insurance executive. However, in his spare time, he continued his work in physics and astronomy.

Prof. Brandenburg is an experimental particle physicist. Since retiring and moving to Salem in 2008, Prof. Brandenburg has been volunteering at the NPS Salem Maritime National Historic Site and on the Friendship. This led him to the study of 19th century celestial navigation and the contributions made by Salem ‘s own Nathaniel Bowditch.

The Waterline Center is a handicapped accessible facility.

Tickets may be ordered on-line, by phone, email, or at the door.

Refreshments will be served.

Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum


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