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Baillaud, Edouard‐Benjamin

Born Chalon‐sur‐Saône, Saône et Loire, France, 14 February 1848

Died Toulouse, Haute‐Garonne, France, 8 July 1934

French astronomer Benjamin Baillaud is best remembered today for his seminal roles in the founding of the Carte du Ciel project (the first photographic atlas of the sky) in the late 19th century and in the establishment of the International Astronomical Union just after World War I. He was, in many ways, the French counterpart of George Hale.

Baillaud, whose father was an employee at the city hall of Chalon, came from a large and modest Burgundian family of seven children and received scholarships to the Lycée of Lyon, where he studied special mathematics. Passing through the École Normale Supérieure (1866-1869), he taught in several French lycées until 1878, even as he became an assistant to Urbain Le Verrier (1872) at the Paris Observatory and a specialist in mathematical