Friedrich Bessel

1784 (Minden, Germany) – 1846 (Königsberg, now Kaliningrad, Russia)

Bessel, who left school at 14, was the first to bring acute mathematical accuracy to astronomical measurement; he also discovered the existence of White Dwarfs. Olbers encouraged him to become an astronomer. Gauss met him as an observatory assistant, became a close friend, and later recommended him for an honorary doctorate (to facilitate his appointment to the new Königsberg observatory). He met his admiring correspondent Herschel (with whom he stayed), and Babbage, on a visit to England. Neumann and Jacobi, university colleagues, worked with him to reform the Prussian education system.