S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Nicot, Father Victor (meteorology)

Born: 1858, Place not known.
Died: 1935, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Victor Nicot was a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) who arrived in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1891. In May that year, while stationed at Macloutsie (near Francistown, Botswana) he proposed in a letter to his superiors that a meteorological and astronomical observatory should be established in Zimbabwe, funded by the government of the Cape Colony. No action was taken at the time, but the idea was revived ten years later when preparations began to be made to establish the Goetz Observatory in Bulawayo.

At this time Nicot was stationed as a teacher at St George's College in Bulawayo, where he began making meteorological observations in 1897, publishing the results in the Zambesi Mission Record. He became a member of the Rhodesia Scientific Association in 1900 and on 8 June 1901 delivered a paper before its members on "Some features of our climate". The paper was published in the Association's Proceedings for that year (Vol. 2, pp. 48-53). As Nicot had only four years of meteorological observations available at the time, his conclusions were mainly speculations. However, he established a second order meteorological station at St Georges College, from where he supplied observations to the Meteorological Commission of the Cape of Good Hope during 1901 and 1902. (Observations had been received from a similar station manned by Reverend C.D. Helm* at Hope Fountain, Bulawayo, from 1899). A summary of Nicot's results were published in the Commission's annual reports for these years. In 1903 his station was replaced by that of Father Goetz* at the newly established meteorological and magnetic observatory in Bulawayo. Nicot was listed as a member of the Rhodesia Scientific Association in 1906 and again in 1930, when he was living in Salisbury (now Harare). He did not appear in the membership list in 1918.

List of sources:
Cape of Good Hope. Report of the Meteorological Commission, 1901, 1902.

Obituary: Father Edmund Goetz, S.J. Proceedings and Transactions of the Rhodesia Scientific Association, 1933-1934, Vol. 33, pp. 1-3.

Rea, W.F. The beginnings of the Goetz Observatory. Rhodesiana, Publication No. 35, September 1976, pp. 24-32. Retrieved from http://www.rhodesia.nl/rhodesiana/volume35.pdf on 2018-12-28.

Rhodesia Scientific Association. Proceedings, 1901, Vol. 2, paper by Nicot; 1906, Vol. 6 and 1930-1931, Vol. 30: Lists of members.

Udias, A. Searching the heavens and the earth: A history of Jesuit observatories (p. 173). Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2003. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.za/books?id=SRdJCAAAQBAJ&pg=PA173&lpg=PA173&dq=Jesuit Nicot Rhodesia&source=bl&ots=LKVg6Dwxp4&sig=Bjv9P7gWlocrBAEY4JEbRl3yBzw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiC8ZzBksLfAhV9URUIHXrkA5AQ6AEwDXoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=Jesuit Nicot Rhodesia&f=false on 2018-12-28.

Venter, R.J. Bibliography of regional meteorological literature. Vol. 1. Southern Africa, 1486-1984. Pretoria: Weather Bureau, 1949.

Compiled by: C. Plug