Percival Lawrence Lowell (1855-1916) was a businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer who fuelled speculation that there were canals on Mars, founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and formed the beginning of the effort that led to the discovery of Pluto 14 years after his death. The choice of the name Pluto and its symbol were partly influenced by his initials PL. Percival graduated from the Noble and Greenough School in 1872 and Harvard University in 1876 with distinction in mathematics. In the 1880s, he travelled extensively in the Far East. In August 1883, he served as a foreign secretary and counsellor for a special Korean diplomatic mission to the United States. He also spent significant periods of time in Japan, writing books on Japanese religion, psychology, and behaviour. His works include: The Soul of the Far East, (1888), Noto (1891) and Occult Japan (1894).