Physicist and army officer. Entered the army in 1803; general, 1870. Astronomer to expeditions in search of a north-west passage, 1818 and 1819–20. Appointed one of three scientific advisers to the Admiralty, 1828. General secretary of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1839–52 and 1853–9. Foreign secretary of the Royal Society of London, 1845; treasurer, 1850; president, 1861–71. Knighted, 1869. FRS 1818.