John Milne (1850-1913)

British seismologist. Milne was born on 30 December 1850 in Liverpool. In 1876 he travelled to Japan to be Professor of Geology and Mining at the Imperial College of Engineering in Tokyo.

Milne experienced a number of Japanese earthquakes and became interested in ways of recording them scientifically. He founded the Seismological Society of Japan to act as a focus for research. Building upon the work of Sir James Alfred Ewing (1855-1935) of Tokyo University, Milne and another Briton, Thomas Gray, constructed the first continuously-running seismograph with a timing system. It accurately recorded all three components of ground motion by linking the pens to movements of pendulums and the times these occurred.

In 1895 Milne returned to England with his Japanese wife, Tone, and continued to develop his seismographs. He lived in Shide on the Isle of Wight where he died on July 31, 1913.