Goodricke, John (1764–1786)
Dutch-born English amateur astronomer who, despite a short life and the
handicap of being deaf and mute, did important early work on variable stars.
Encouraged in this field by his neighbor, Edward Pigott,
Goodricke determined the period of Algol and
explained, in 1782, its behavior in terms of an eclipsing
binary system – a suggestion that was confirmed a century later.
Goodricke's discovered the variability of Beta
Lyrae and of Delta Cephei in 1784,
but then died at the age of 21 after a bout with pneumonia which he reportedly
caught while observing Delta Cep.