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Charles Carpmael 1894

Charles Carpmael 1894

Charles Carpmael (1846-94)

The obituary below was published in the Transactions of the society for 1894, p.164.

CHARLES CARPMAEL, MA., F.R.A.S., F.R.S.C., was born September 19th, 1846, at Streatham Hill, Surrey, England, and was educated at Clapham Grammar School. He gave his attention particularly to the study of mathematics and natural science, and in 1865 obtained a scholarship at St. John’s College, Cambridge, going into residence in that institution in the same year. In 1868, he obtained a foundation scholarship, and in January, 1869, entered for the mathematical tripos, and was classed sixth in the list of wranglers. In 1870, Mr. Carpmael was elected Fellow of St. John’s College, and in the same year accompanied the British Eclipse Expedition to Spain. He first visited the United States and Canada in 1871, and remained until 1872. This visit led him to ultimately settle in Canada.

On the superannuation of Prof. Kingston, in 1876, Mr. Carpmael was appointed Director of the Magnetic Observatory, at Toronto, and Superintendent of the Dominion Meteorological Service, and to him was very largely due the great efficiency of the Weather Bureau.

In 1876 he was married to Julia, youngest daughter of the late Walter McKenzie, of Castle Frank, Toronto. Mr. Carpmael was a member of the first Council of the Royal Society of Canada, appointed by the Marquis of Lorne, and in 1886, became President of Section 3 of that Society. In 1888 he was elected President of the Canadian Institute, and in 1890, at the earnest request of the gentlemen who were then seeking incorporation for The Astronomical and Physical Society of Toronto, he accepted the Presidency of that Society, which office he held until his decease.

For some time before Mr. Carpmael’s death his health had become impaired and he was advised to spend some time in the South of England, in the hope of ultimately recovering.

The journey was made but did not result in improvement, and on October 21st, 1894, news of his death, which had taken place at Hastings, Eng., was cabled to Toronto. Mr. Carpmael’s loss was most severely felt, and particularly by those, young in scientific study, who had enjoyed the pleasure of his kindly aid and genial personality.

Almost his last act in connection with The Astronomical and Physical Society was the arranging for systematic observations of magnetic disturbances, more especially in connection with Earth Current phenomena. A memorandum on the subject appears in the report for 1894. A likeness of Mr. Carpmael faces the title page of this volume.