Skip to main content

Schmidt, Johann Friedrich Julius


(b, Eutin, Germany, 26 October 1825; d. Athens, Greece, 7 February 1884)

astronomy, geophysics.

Schmidt was the son of Carl Friedrich Schmidt, a glazier, and Maria Elisabeth Quirling. He received his early education in Eutin and Hamburg, where his interest in the sciences and his aptitude for drawing were encouraged. From 1842 he studied practical astronomy under Carl Rümker at the Hamburg observatory. Then, in 1845, he went to Benzenberg’s private observatory in Bilk, near Düsseldorf. The following year, he assisted Argelander at the latter’s observatory in Bonn, where he became an accomplished astronomer.

With Argelander’s recommendation, Schmidt was named observator at the observatory of the canon and provost E. von Unkrechtsberg in Olmütz (now Olomouc), where he remained from 1853 to 1858. He was then named director (1858) of the new observatory founded by Baron Sica in Athens. Schmidt worked there until his death. He continued the observations that he had begun in Olmütz and also observed comets, variable stars, nebulae, sunspots, and the zodiacal light. He later studied volcanic and seismic phenomena but is known chiefly for his selenographic observations.

Although Schmidt’s research was voluminous, he lacked the means to publish it. But through the intervention of the German ambassador to Greece, this work was placed in the Potsdam observatory.

Schmidt never married. He was well liked and respected at the Greek court; and the evening before his death, he attended the usual social gathering at the German Embassy in Athens. Schmidt received many honors and in 1868 was awarded the Ph.D. honoris causa by the University of Bonn.


Schmodt’s major works are Das Zodiakallicht (Brunswick, 1856); Resultate aus 11-jährigen Beobachtungen der Sonnenflecken (Vienna, 1857); Physikalische Geographie von Griechenland (Athens, 1869); Vulkanstudien (Leipzig, 1874); Studien über Erdbeden (Leipzig, 1875; 2nd ed., 1879); Karte det Gebirge der Mondes nach eigenen Beobachtungen 1840–1874 (Berlin, 1878); and Erläuterungsband (Berlin, 1874).

The only useful secondary source is A. Krueger’s obituary in Astronomische Nachrichten, 108 (1884). 129.

H.-Christ. Freiesleben

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Schmidt, Johann Friedrich Julius." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . 21 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Schmidt, Johann Friedrich Julius." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . (September 21, 2019).

"Schmidt, Johann Friedrich Julius." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Retrieved September 21, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.