Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Alexander Dallas Bache
Alexander Dallas Bache (July 19, 1806 – February 17,1867), American physicist, great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin, was born at Philadelphia. After graduating at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1825, he acted as assistant professor there for some time, and as a lieutenant in the corps of engineers he was engaged for a short time in the erection of coastal fortifications.
He occupied the post of professor of natural philosophy and chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania from 1828 to 1841 and again from 1842 to 1843. He spent the years 1836 to 1838 in Europe on behalf of the trustees of what, in 1848, was to become Girard College. Abroad, he examined European systems of education and, on his return, published a very valuable report.
In 1843, on the death of Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler , he was appointed superintendent of the United States coast survey. He succeeded in impressing the United States Congress with a sense of the great value of this work and by means of the liberal aid it granted, he carried out a singularly comprehensive plan with great ability and most satisfactory results. By a skillful division of labour, and by the erection of numerous observing stations, the mapping out of the whole coast was completed. In addition, a vast mass of magnetic and meteorological data was collected.
He died at Newport, Rhode Island.
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