Cover image for Thomas Harriot, science pioneer
Thomas Harriot, science pioneer
Staiger, Ralph C.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Clarion Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
128 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Examines the life and studies of the sixteenth-century scholar, mathematician, explorer, optician, and astronomer, Thomas Hariot.
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Q143.H36 S7 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This is an informed and thorough account of the life and life''s work of Thomas Harriot, a preeminent mathematician and astronomer of the Elizabethan era.'

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-10. Better known in his own time than in ours, Thomas Harriot (1560^-1621) was an English scientist and mathematician who made contributions to the fields of navigation, ballistics, optics, and astronomy. Perhaps of more interest to Americans is his role in exploring parts of the New World and recording his findings. Harriot's friend and patron, Sir Walter Raleigh, chose him to sail on his ship the Tiger, which made its way to Roanoke Island in 1585. There Harriot observed and described animals, plants, and the native people, whose language he recorded using a phonetic alphabet. Bringing in many details of life in Elizabethan England, this biography offers a fuller understanding of Harriot's life and an appreciation of his accomplishments. The many black-and-white illustrations include reproductions of portraits, documents, maps, and fellow Tiger passenger John White's paintings of the Algonquins. With its spacious format and handsome design, the book offers a good look at a relatively unfamiliar historical figure. --Carolyn Phelan

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-Educated at Oxford, Harriot was selected by Sir Walter Ralegh to instruct sea captains in navigation skills. In 1585, he went along on a voyage to Virginia. There he created a phonetic alphabet to use in compiling a dictionary of the Algonquin language. During his lifetime, Harriot studied and experimented in algebra, geometry, astronomy, optics, and assorted related subjects. However, he remained uninterested in preparing his work for publication and so often lost credit for his discoveries. Staiger has carefully compiled what little can be known about the man from diaries, correspondence, and other sources and supplemented it with some brief descriptions of the historical setting and facts recorded by others about events in which Harriot participated. The volume is illustrated with reproductions of prints, maps, and journal entries. Readers are given a portrait of an original and brilliant mind, forever jumping from one interest to the next, working during a time when there was much to discover if only one could find a patron to support such study. Students needing material for reports on scientists will find this a useful source. The clear but dry text will probably not entice casual readers, but those with an interest in the Elizabethan era may be drawn in.-Elaine Fort Weischedel, Turner Free Library, Randolph, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.