Sir Edmond was a mathematician, scientist, inventor and author. He contributed to many areas of society, including insurance. His contribution to the world of insurance stemmed from his pioneer work on vital statistics and mortality tables. His life expectation tables were the first such tables to be developed. They were founded on the parish registers of Breslau in Silesia and provided the general format that was used long after.
A genius of remarkable versatility, and a friend of leading scientific figures of the day, his work embraced many areas. He translated an early Greek work on geometry. He published a detailed study of Caesar’s visit to England. He was an expert and added to knowledge about such matters as the movement of trade winds and monsoons, the measurement of the oceans' salinity, and the development of the diving bell as well as the science of gunnery and ballistics. He was the first to use the barometer to measure height.
He is best known for his work in astronomy, having served as his country’s Royal Astronomer. His most significant contribution was the discovery of Halley’s Comet.