Sir John Frederick William Herschel (1792-1871)

British astronomer. Born on 7 March 1792 in Slough, the only child of Sir William Herschel (1738-1822).

Between 1825-1833 he reviewed his fathers catalogue of nebulae adding 525 new ones, for which he received the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1826. In 1834 he set up the twenty-foot Slough reflector at Feldhausen near Cape Town. By 1838 he had completed a survey of the southern sky during which he discovered 1708 new nebulae and over 1200 double stars.

In 1837 he was made a baronet at Queen Victoria’s coronation. A pioneer photographer, he invented sensitised paper (1839) and the fixing process using sodium thiosulphate (1819) and he was the first person to use the terms positive and negative in photography.

Elected fellow of the Royal Society in 1813, he won its Copley Medal in 1821 and 1847, and its Royal Medal in 1833, 1836 and 1840. He was elected president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1845. Between 1850 and 1855 he was appointed Master of the Mint. He died at Hawkhurst, Kent on 11 May 1871.