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COFFIN, John Huntington Crane, mathematician, born in Wiscasset, Maine, 14 September, 1815. He was graduated at Bowdoin in 1834. Two years later he was appointed professor of mathematics in the United States navy, and in that capacity served on the "Vandalia" and the "Constellation," in the West India squadron, at Norfolk navy-yard, and on the Florida surveys, until 1843, when he was placed in charge of the mural circle in the United States naval observatory in Washington. After 1853 he was intrusted with the department of mathematics, and subsequently that of astronomy and navigation, at the United States naval academy. In 1865 ha was appointed to the charge of the "American Ephemeris and Nautical Ahnanac," then published in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but since 1867 in Washington, District of Columbia In this capacity he remained until 1877, when he was placed on the retired list, having been senior professor of mathematics since 1848. Prof. Coffin is a member of the American academy of sciences, Boston, the American philosophical society, Philadelphia, and was one of the original members of the National academy of sciences. In 1884 he received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Bow-doin. Besides many smaller articles, he has published " Observations with the Mural Circle at the United States Naval Observatory, with Explanations, Formulas, Tables, and Discussions, 1845-'9," in the volumes of the observatory for those years; "The Compass," local deviations (1863); "Navigation and Nautical Astronomy" (New York, 1868), the last two having been prepared for use in the United States naval academy; " The American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac," edited (1868 till 1879); also "Personal Errors in Observations of the Declination of Stars" in "Gould's Astronomical Journal " (1850); and "Observations of the Total Eclipse of the Sun, August, 1869" (Washington, 1884).
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