PIGOT, Edward Francis (1858-1929)


PIGOT, Edward Francis (1858-1929)
astronomer and seismologist
was born at Dundrum, Ireland, on 18 September 1858. He graduated B.A. and M.B. at Trinity College, Dublin, and after a post-graduate course at London practised at Dublin for some years as a physician. He then entered the Jesuit order, and coming to Australia about 1890 was appointed science master at Riverview College, Sydney. In 1899 he went to China as a missionary, but his health broke down and for six years he was attached to the observatories of Zi-kai-wei and Zo-se near Shanghai. His interest in astronomy had been aroused when, as a student at Dublin, he had attended lectures given by Sir Robert Ball. He returned to Sydney in 1905 and took up his old position at Riverview. There he founded an observatory which though ill-equipped at first (it was not Until 1922 that he had a first-rate telescope), eventually became widely known. Pigot had given particular attention to seismology, and in 1914 visited Europe as a delegate of the Commonwealth government to the international seismological congress which was to have been held at Petrograd, but had to be abandoned on account of the war. He was elected a member of the Australian national research council in 1921, and was a delegate to the International Astronomical Union at Rome in 1922, and the Pan-Pacific Science Congress at Tokyo in 1926. He was a past president of the New South Wales section of the British Astronomical Association, and was a member of the council of the Royal Society of New South Wales for seven Years from 1921. He died at Sydney on 22 May 1929.
Pigot was a man of somewhat frail physique, with many interests and great learning. He was an excellent musician, had a charming personality, and was much loved. For many years he devoted himself to his observatory, and partly by personal sacrifice got together the collection of instruments which enabled it to be ranked among the best seismological observatories in the world. His own work in this direction was of the highest order, and towards the end of his life he was engaged in research in weather problems of great interest. He believed that eventually it might be possible to considerably increase the range and certainty of weather forecasting, by the systematic collaboration of meteorologists and astronomers in different parts of the world.
Journal and Proceedings Royal Society of New South Wales, 1930, p. 5; The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 and 23 May 1929; The Advocate, 30 May 1929.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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