Liverpool

Jeremiah Horrocks: Campaign for statue to honour astronomer

Jeremiah Horrocks - William Richard Lavender 1877–1915 Image copyright Astley Hall Museum and Art Gallery
Image caption Jeremiah Horrocks became the only person to predict the transit of Venus in 1639

A campaign has been launched to erect a statue in honour of 17th Century astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks.

Historians and Hollywood screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce are among those who want to commemorate the Liverpool-born scientist.

He was the first person to demonstrate the Moon moved around the Earth in an elliptical orbit.

About £150,000 is needed for the statue which could be placed in St John's Gardens or Preston in Lancashire.

Image copyright Philip Garrett
Image caption A model of the proposed statue has been made by Liverpool sculptor and artist Philip Garrett

"Horrocks is a bridge between astronomers like Gallileo, Copernicus and Newton," said Gerard Gilligan, chair of the Society for the History of Astronomy, which is working with Liverpool Astronomical Society on the bid.

"Sadly, he only lived to 22 and had he lived longer he might have outshone Sir Isaac Newton."

'Pioneering work'

One possible Preston location is the village of Much Hoole where Horrocks, from Toxteth, became the only person to predict the transit of Venus in 1639. He died two years later, aged 22.

However, the Institute for Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy at the University of Central Lancashire is named after Horrocks and it is hoped the statue could be located there.

Astronomical historian at Oxford's Wadham College, Allan Chapman, described Horrocks as the "Einstein" of the early 17th Century.

"Horrocks' pioneering work was a model for telescopic observation," he said.

The project has also been backed by Liverpool-born author Frank Cottrell-Boyce who was responsible for the screenplay for movies including Welcome to Sarajevo and 24 Hour Party People.

A model of the proposed statue has been made by Liverpool sculptor and artist Philip Garrett.

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