Thomas HarriotThomas Harriot (Oxford, c. 1560 – London, 2 July 1621), also spelled Harriott, Hariot or Heriot, was an English astronomer, mathematician, ethnographer and translator who made advances within the scientific field.Thomas Harriot was recognized for his contributions in astronomy, mathematics, and navigational techniques. Harriot worked closely with John White to create advanced maps for navigation. While Harriot worked extensively on numerous papers on the subjects of astronomy, mathematics, and navigation the amount of work that was actually published was sparse. So sparse, that the only publication that has been produced by Harriot was “the briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia.” The premise of the book includes descriptions of English settlements and financial issues in Virginia at the time. He is sometimes credited with the introduction of the potato to the British Isles. Harriot was the first person to make a drawing of the Moon through a telescope, on 26 July 1609, over four months before Galileo.
After graduating from St Mary Hall, Oxford, Harriot travelled to the Americas, accompanying the 1585 expedition to Roanoke island funded by Sir Walter Raleigh and led by Sir Ralph Lane. Harriot was a vital member of the venture, having learned and translating the Carolina Algonquian language from two Native Americans: Wanchese and Manteo. On his return to England, he worked for the 9th Earl of Northumberland. At the Earl's house, he became a prolific mathematician and astronomer to whom the theory of refraction is attributed. Provided by Wikipedia