Category Archives: Brünnow

FRANZ F. E. BRÜNNOW

Franz Brünnow from the University  of Michigan faculty and staff portrait  collection

Franz Brünnow from the University
of Michigan faculty and staff portrait
collection

Director, Detroit Observatory, 1854-63

Franz Friedrich Ernst Brünnow was born November 18, 1821 in Berlin, Germany. When University of Michigan President Henry P. Tappan traveled to Europe to obtain astronomical instruments for the Detroit Observatory, he engaged Brünnow to supervise the construction and testing of a meridian circle telescope and an astronomical clock, and later offered him the job as Director of the Detroit Observatory. Brünnow married Tappan’s daughter, Rebecca Lloyd Tappan, in 1857. Brünnow was the first University of Michigan professor to hold a doctoral degree, and under his direction the Detroit Observatory became known and widely respected throughout the scientific world. Brünnow created the University of Michigan’s first scholarly journal in 1858, Astronomical Notices, to publish important research conducted at the Detroit Observatory. In 1859-60, he served as Associate Director of the Dudley Observatory, Albany, New York, and then was called back to Ann Arbor by the Regents. When President Tappan was removed from office in 1863, Brünnow left with him and became the Astronomer Royal of Ireland at Dunsink Observatory near Dublin. During his career, he published many works, including the popular textbook, Spherical Astronomy, which was translated into many languages. After years of observations and writing, Brünnow’s eyesight began to fail, and he retired in 1874. He died in Heidelberg, Germany on August 22, 1891.