He Knew Where the Fair Winds Blew

The American oceanographer Matthew Maury was born on this day in 1806. His monumental work, "Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic," issued in 1847, and his later charts of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, greatly aided the shipping industry. Maury claimed that the charts cut passage time between New York and California from 183 to 135 days, and between England and Australia from 124 to 97 days. Maury also wrote the first textbook of modern oceanography in 1853, Physical Oceanography of the Sea, and lobbied for the first transatlantic cable.

[Source: Trevor I. Williams, Ed., A Biographical Dictionary of Scientists (John Wiley & Sons, New York, ed. 3, 1982).]/