Truman Henry Safford, an American mathematician, born in Royalton, Vt., Jan. 6, 1836. While a child he attracted public attention by his remarkable powers of calculation. He could mentally extract the square and cube roots of numbers of 9 and 10 places of figures, and at 14 produced the elliptic elements of the first comet of 1849. At this time he was widely known as the Vermont boy calculator. He graduated at Harvard college in 1854, and spent some time in professional studies in the observatory of that institution. Between 1850 and 1862 he computed the orbits of many planets and comets, and his labors were published in the monthly notices of the royal astronomical society of England, the Astrono-mische Nachrichten, and the "Astronomical Journal." From 1863 to 1866 he was connected with the Harvard observatory, part of the time as acting director, and was chiefly employed in observations for a standard catalogue of right ascensions. In the single year 1863 he determined the right ascension of 1,700 stars, and the declination of 450. In 1865 he became professor of astronomy in the university of Chicago and director of Dearborn observatory. The first two years here were chiefly devoted to work upon the nebulae, many new ones being discovered.
From 1869 to 1871 he was engaged upon the great catalogue of stars now forming by the coöperation of English, German, Russian, Norwegian, Swiss, and American astronomers. This undertaking, however, was interrupted by the total loss of the means of the Chicago observatory, and since 1872 Prof. Safford has been much employed in latitude and longitude work in the territories, by the United States engineers, for whom he has also prepared a star catalogue, which was published by the war department. He is now (1875) working upon another. He has edited vol. iv. (part i.) and vol. v. of the "Annals of Harvard College Observatory." The latter volume is taken up by the report of Prof. G. P. Bond's discoveries in the constellation of Orion, which Prof. Safford wrote out fully after Bond's death. Other contributions of Prof. Safford may be found in the same periodical, and also in the "Proceedings of the American Academy".