James Eights (1798–1882) was an American physician, scientist, and artist. He was born in Albany, New York, the son of physician Jonathan Eights and Alida Wynkoop. James also became a physician and was appointed an examiner a local engineering school which is now known as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Eights became an assistant to Amos Eaton and helped complete the surveys along the Erie Canal.
He obtained the position of naturalist and surgeon on the first voyage of discovery made outside the United States. He was a member of the "Expedition of 1830," conducted by two brigs, Annawan and Seraph, that sailed to the Southern Hemisphere. Eights made observations of the lands reached by the expedition, and he was the first to describe the geology of the area and made the first discoveries of fossils in the Antarctic.
Upon his return, James Eights published some of his materials in journals, but failed to obtain any further positions on exploratory voyages. He held himself out to be a geologist, mineralogist, and surveyor, obtaining some work away from Albany. Later he produced the watercolors and sketches of the Albany of his youth, by which he is now better known. He is believed to have never practiced medicine after the Antarctic expedition. Eights never married and lived his last years in the home of a sister.
Eights died in Ballston, New York. The Eights Coast of Antarctica was named in his honor.
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