Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Julio Garavito Armero
Born in Bogotá, he was a child prodigy for science and mathematics. He obtained his degrees as mathematician and civil engineer in the Escuela Nacional de Ingeniería (National Engineering School). In 1892 he worked as the director of the Observatorio Astronómico Nacional (National Astronomical Observatory). His investigative works had been published in Los Anales de Ingeniería (The Annals of Engineering) since 1890, seven years before he took over with editing the publication.
In his youth he studied in the San Bartolomé school, but in 1885 he had to interrupt his studies because of the civil wars which were affecting his home country, so he had to work in the Casa de la Moneda.
During the war of thousand days, Garavito was part of a secret scientific society called El Círculo de los Nueve Puntos (the Nine point circle), where the condition to be let in was to solve a problem about Euler's theorem. This group was active until Garavito himself died.
As an astronomer of the observatory, he did many useful researches such as calculating the latitude of Bogotá, studies about the comets which passed by the Earth between 1901 and 1910 (such as Comet Halley), and the 1916 solar eclipse (seen in the majority of Colombia).
But perhaps the most important things were his studies about celestial mechanics, which finally turned into studies about lunar fluctuations and their influence in weather, floods, polar ice, and Earth's orbital acceleration (this was corroborated later).
He worked also in other areas such as optics - altough this part of his works was left unfinished because of his death, and economics, from which he helped the country recover from the rough civil war. With this objective did he give lectures and conferences in economics and the human factors which affected it, such as war or overpopulation.
He was later the director of the Corographic Commision, created with the objectives of developing the Colombian railways and defining the frontier with Venezuela. He opposed Albert Einstein's theory of relativity - probably he was opposing vague and contradictory opinions on this theory and its influence in classical physics.
Despite this, Garavito was very conservative with his scientifical knowledge, and 50 years later, the International Astronomical Union named a lunar crater after him, the Garavito crater. He has been compared to two great scientists of the 19th century: José Celestino Mutis and Francisco José de Caldas .
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details