Horace W. Babcock

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Horace W. Babcock
Born (1912-09-13)September 13, 1912
Died August 29, 2003(2003-08-29) (aged 90)
Nationality United States
Fields astronomy
Known for adaptive optics
Babcock Model
Notable awards Henry Draper Medal (1957)

Horace Welcome Babcock (September 13, 1912 – August 29, 2003) was an American astronomer. He was the son of Harold D. Babcock.

He invented and built a number of astronomical instruments, and in 1953 was the first to propose the idea of adaptive optics.[1] He specialized in spectroscopy and the study of magnetic fields of stars. He proposed the Babcock Model, a theory for the magnetism of sunspots.

During World War II, he was engaged in radiation work at MIT and Caltech. After the war he began a productive collaboration with his father. His undergraduate studies was at Caltech and his doctorate from University of California, Berkeley.[2]

Babcock's doctoral thesis contained one of the earliest indications of dark matter. He reported measurements of the rotation curve for Andromeda which suggested that the mass-to-luminosity ratio increases radially.[3] He, however, attributed it to either absorption of light within the galaxy or modified dynamics in the outer portions of the spiral and not to any form of missing matter.

Honors[edit]

Awards

Named after him

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'Adaptive optics' come into focus". BBC. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Hockey, Thomas (2009). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  3. ^ Babcock, H, 1939, “The rotation of the Andromeda Nebula”, Lick Observatory bulletin ; no. 498
  4. ^ "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "Past Winners of the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal". Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "Winners of the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society". Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 

External links[edit]

Obituaries[edit]