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Jonathan Homer Lane

Born: 9-Aug-1819
Birthplace: Geneseo, NY
Died: 3-May-1880
Location of death: Washington, DC
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Astronomer, Mathematician

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Gravitational equilibrium of the Sun

Jonathan Homer Lane worked in Washington, DC as a patent examiner, then a private patent agent. After leaving these jobs, while unattached to any institution and living with his brother in Pennsylvania, he spent several years constructing his own scientific devices, then returned to DC and sought employment with the Office of Weights and Measures, predecessor of today's National Institute of Standards and Technology. In the late 1860s he became the first astronomer to mathematically address the gravitational equilibrium of the Sun, based on assumptions (now known to be true) that the Sun is a gaseous body. His work is sometimes cited as the basis of what became the theory of stellar evolution, and with mathematician Robert Emden he is the namesake of the Lane-Emden Equation in astrophysics. He never married.

Father: Mark Lane (farmer)
Mother: Henrietta Tenny Lane (farmer)

    High School: Phillips Exeter Academy
    University: BS Mathematics, Yale University (1846)

    National Academy of Sciences
    Philosophical Society of Washington
    National Institute of Standards and Technology Office of Weights and Measures (1869-80)
    US Official Patent Office:Examiner (1848-58)
    US Official United States Coast Survey (1847-48)
    Lunar Crater Lane


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