Observing the skies of Lisbon. Isaac de Sequeira Samuda, An Estrangeirado in the Royal Society

Abstract

Elected in 1723, Isaac de Sequeira Samuda (1681–1729) was the first Jewish Fellow of the Royal Society. He had arrived in London just a few years earlier, escaping from the Portuguese Inquisition. Despite his past, he had no difficulty in establishing links with his country's diplomatic representatives in London. A physician and adviser on scientific subjects, he became a conduit between the emerging world of Portuguese astronomy and the British scientific community. He reported to the Royal Society on astronomical observations made in the new observatories in Lisbon and helped with the acquisition of scientific instruments and books destined for Portugal. These activities were facets of Samuda's unusual career and the diverse though often converging associations that he established until his death. As the member of a network active in the diffusion of new ideas and in the modernization of Portuguese science, Samuda can be regarded as an estrangeirado, as this term has come to be used in the modern literature

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