William Derham

views updated

William Derham

1657-1735

English naturalist and theologian best known for his Physico-Theology (1713), which abounds in arguments from design to God, and Astro-theology (1715), which argues that Newtonian cosmology is ample evidence of God's existence. Derham also determined the speed of sound by timing the interval between the flash and roar of a cannon fired 12 miles (19.3 km) away (1705). His value of 1142 ft/sec (348.08 m/sec) is in good agreement with the presently accepted value of 1130 ft/sec (344.4 m/sec).

About this article

William Derham

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article