Alexander Ross Clarke

Alexander Ross Clarke ( born December 16, 1828 in Reading, Berkshire, England; † February 11, 1914 in Strathmore, Reigate, Surrey ) was a British surveyor, whose importance lies in the definition of various earth ellipsoids.

Life and work

Clarke spent his childhood in the British colony of Jamaica, to the family again moved back to England.

On 1 October 1847 he joined the British Army and was assigned to the Royal Engineers. He received his education in Chatham, Kent, in the School of Military Engineering, in 1850, he was transferred to the Ordnance Survey in Southampton.

From 1851 to 1854 Clark served in Canada, where he married in 1853 Francis Dixon.

Clarke returned to England and served again at the Ordnance Survey in Southampton, where he was in 1856 head of the surveying department was. In 1858 he published his first article on the history of land surveying in the UK.

He worked as a surveyor and made calculations for the earth's shape, including the flattening.

On June 5, 1862 he was elected to the Royal Society. In another publication he described in 1866 a new Clarke ellipsoid, the " Clarke 1866 " is still used as today, especially in English-speaking countries and territories.

In 1880, he coined the word " Geodesy " when he published his book of the same. In it he described a further Erdellipsoid " Clarke 1880 ", which is mainly used in Africa.

After serving 27 years in England, he should be displaced again in 1881 overseas, whereupon Clarke, however, tendered his resignation. Also on public pressure, the army did not allow Clarke continued to serve the army in England. So Clarke left on October 1, 1881 with the rank of colonel in the army and moved to Redhill, Surrey.

For financial reasons, he left the Royal Society.

In October 1883 Clarke was the British delegate at the Geodetic Conference in Rome, and in 1884 he became a British member of the International Geodetic Association.

From the Royal Society, he received the Royal Medal in 1887 and was reinstated as a member without contribution obligation.

Clarke and his wife had four sons and nine daughters.