Edward Charles Pickering
|Edward Charles Pickering|
Edward Charles Pickering
July 19, 1846|
|Died||February 3, 1919
|Known for||spectroscopic binary stars|
|Notable awards||Henry Draper Medal (1888)
Bruce Medal (1908)
Pickering attended Boston Latin School, and received his B.S. from Harvard in 1865. Soon after graduating from Harvard, Pickering taught physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Later, he served as director of Harvard College Observatory from 1877 to his death in 1919, where he made great leaps forward in the gathering of stellar spectra through the use of photography.
At Harvard, he recruited many women to work for him, including Annie Jump Cannon, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, and Antonia Maury. These women, who came to be known as "Pickering's Harem" by the scientific community, made several important discoveries at HCO. Leavitt's discovery of the period-luminosity relationship for Cepheids, published by Pickering, would prove the foundation for the modern understanding of cosmological distances.
In 1876 he co-founded the Appalachian Mountain Club.
In 1882, Pickering developed a method to photograph the spectra of multiple stars simultaneously by putting a large prism in front of the photographic plate.
He also, along with Williamina Fleming designed a stellar classification system based on an alphabetic system for spectral classes that was first known as the Harvard Stellar Classification and became the basis for the Henry Draper Catalog.
Awards and honors
- Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1867.
- Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1886 and 1901)
- Henry Draper Medal from the National Academy of Sciences (1888)
- Bruce Medal (1908)
Named after him
(all jointly named after him and his brother William Henry Pickering)
- Pickering, EC (1912). "THE ALLEGHENY OBSERVATORY IN ITS RELATION TO ASTRONOMY.". Science 36 (927) (1912 Oct 4). pp. 417–421. Bibcode:1912Sci....36..417P. doi:10.1126/science.36.927.417. PMID 17788756
- Daintith, John. A Dictionary of Scientists. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. Print.
- Miss Leavitt in Pickering, Edward C. "Periods of 25 Variable Stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud" Harvard College Observatory Circular 173 (1912) 1-3.
- Bunch, Bryan H., and Alexander Hellemans. The History of Science and Technology: A Browser's Guide to the Great Discoveries, Inventions, and the People Who Made Them, from the Dawn of Time to Today. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Print.
- Clark, David H., and Matthew D. H. Clark. Measuring the Cosmos: How Scientists Discovered the Dimensions of the Universe. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers UP, 2004. Print.
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter P". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
- Works by Edward Pickering at Project Gutenberg
- Edward Charles Pickering — Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences
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