Nathaniel Bowditch (March 26, 1773 - March 1838) was an early American mathematician, who wrote on practical navigation.
Bowditch, the fourth of seven children, was born in Salem, Massachusetts. His father was Habakkuk Bowditch and his mother was Mary Ingersoll. When he was ten years old, Nathaniel had to leave school to work in his father's cooperage. He later became an apprentice to a candlemaker.
When he was fourteen years old, he began to study algebra. At sixteen, he taught himself calculus. He taught himself both Latin and French in order to read mathematical works. At the age of 17, he wrote a letter to a Harvard University professor pointing out an error in Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica. He spent some time at sea and wrote the New American Practical Navigator, a text which extended and corrected the work of John Hamilton Moore and is still used today.
He died in Boston, Massachusetts. He is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, where he also has a monument erected through public collection.