Andrew Noble

Posted in Scottish Military Figures

Born on 13 September, 1831, at Greenock, Andrew Noble was educated at Edinburgh Academy, and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, London. He entered the Royal Artillery in 1849. A physicist and gunnery expert, he is often considered a founder of the science of ballistics.

During the 1850s, while studying the relative merits of smoothbore and rifled cannon, he devised a method of comparing their accuracy of fire. His pioneering research on fired gunpowder, often in conjunction with the British chemist Frederick Abel, also advanced gunnery knowledge.

About 1862, he applied his invention, the chronoscope (a device for measuring very small time intervals), to determine the velocity of shot in gun barrels. He became assistant inspector of artillery in 1859, later leaving the service to join the engineering and ordnance firm of Sir William (later Lord) Armstrong. He became chairman in 1900.

Noble was elected a fellow of the Royal Society (1870), knighted (1893), and create a baronet (1902). He died 22 October, 1915, in Argyll.