Jones, Sir Harold Spencer

Astronomer Royal, born in Kensington on 29 March 1890. During a distinguished career at Jesus College, Cambridge, he gained firsts in mathematics and physics and an ScD in 1925. He was appointed to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in 1913 and to the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope in 1923. He returned to Greenwich as Astronomer Royal in 1933 and initiated the move to Herstmonceux. His research on irregularities in the earth's rotation and the system of astronomical constants won him international recognition, including ten honorary doctorates and an honorary fellowship at Jesus College, Cambridge in 1933. In World War II he worked on ways of combatting magnetic mines and received a knighthood in 1943 and a KBE in 1955. He was President of the International Astronomical Union, 1945-1948 and Secretary-General of the International Geophysical Year 1956-1958. His other interests included horology (he was appointed President of the British Horological Institute in 1939) and geo-magnetism. He died in Kensington on 3 November 1960.

  • Biographical Memoirs of FRS, 7 (1961)
  • Methodist Recorder, 29 December 1932; 17 Nov. 1960
  • Oxford DNB


Entry written by: JAV
Category: Person
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