|Joseph Norman Lockyer|
from Proceedings of the Royal Society (1909)
17 May 1836|
Rugby, Warwickshire, England
|Died||16 August 1920
Salcombe Regis, Devon, England
|Institutions||Imperial College London|
|Known for||Discovery of helium Founder of Journal, Nature|
|Notable awards||Rumford Medal (1874)
Janssen Medal (1889)
Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer, FRS (17 May 1836 – 16 August 1920), known simply as Norman Lockyer, was an English scientist and astronomer. Along with the French scientist Pierre Janssen he is credited with discovering the gas helium. Lockyer also is remembered for being the founder and first editor of the influential journal Nature.
Lockyer was born in Rugby, Warwickshire. After a conventional schooling supplemented by travel in Switzerland and France, he worked for some years as a civil servant in the British War office. He settled in Wimbledon, South London after marrying Winifred James. A keen amateur astronomer with a particular interest in the Sun. In 1885 he became the world's first professor of astronomical physics at the Royal College of Science, South Kensington, now part of Imperial College. At the college, the Solar Physics Observatory was built for him and here he directed research until 1913.
In the 1860s Lockyer became fascinated by electromagnetic spectroscopy as an analytical tool for determining the composition of heavenly bodies. He conducted his research from his new home in West Hampstead, with a 6¼ inch telescope which he already used Wimbledon. In 1868 a prominent yellow line was observed in a spectrum taken near the edge of the Sun. With a wavelength of about 588 nm, slightly less than the so-called "D" lines of sodium. the line could not be explained as due to any material known at the time, and so it was suggested by Lockyer that the yellow line was caused by an unknown solar element. He named this element helium after the Greek word 'Helios' meaning 'sun'. An observation of the new yellow line also was made by Janssen at the 18 August 1868 solar eclipse, and so he and Lockyer usually are awarded joint credit for helium's discovery. Terrestrial helium was found about 10 years later by William Ramsay. In his work on the identification of helium, Lockyer collaborated with the noted chemist Edward Frankland.
To facilitate the transmission of ideas between scientific disciplines, Lockyer established the general science journal Nature in 1869. He remained its editor until shortly before his death.
After his retirement in 1913, Lockyer established an observatory near his home in Salcombe Regis near Sidmouth, Devon. Originally known as the Hill Observatory, the site was renamed the Norman Lockyer Observatory after his death. For a time the observatory was a part of the University of Exeter, but is now owned by the East Devon District Council, and run by the Norman Lockyer Observatory Society. The Norman Lockyer Chair in Astrophysics at the University of Exeter is currently held by Professor Tim Naylor, who is the member of the Astrophysics group there which studies star formation and extrasolar planets.
- Norman Lockyer (1889). Elementary Lessons in Astronomy. Macmillan and co. (1868–94)
- Questions on Astronomy (1870)
- Norman Lockyer (1874). Contributions Contributions to Solar Physics. Macmillan and co. (1873)
- Joseph Norman Lockyer (1873). The Spectroscope and Its Applications. Macmillan and Co. (1873)
- Norman Lockyer, George Mitchell Seabroke (1878). Stargazing. Macmillan and co. (1878)
- Norman Lockyer (1878). Studies in spectrum analysis. C. K. Paul. (1878)
- Report to the Committee on Solar Physics on the Basic Lines Common to Spots and Prominences (1880)
- Joseph Norman Lockyer, Norman Lockyer (1887). The Movements of the Earth. Macmillan and co. (1887)
- Norman Lockyer (1887). The Chemistry of the Sun. Macmillan and co. (1887)
- Norman Lockyer (1890). The Meteoritic Hypothesis. Macmillan. (1890)
- Penrose, F.C., (communicated by Joseph Norman Lockyer), The Orientation of Greek Temples, Nature, v.48, n.1228, 11 May 1893, pp. 42–43
- Norman Lockyer (1894). The Dawn of Astronomy. Cassell. (1894)
- The Rules of Golf: Being the St. Andrews Rules for the Game (1896), with William Rutherford
- Norman Lockyer (1897). The Sun's Place in Nature. The Macmillan company. (1897)
- Recent and Coming Eclipses (1900)
- Norman Lockyer (1900). Inorganic Evolution as Studied by Spectrum Analysis. Macmillan and co., limited. (1900)
- Norman Lockyer (1903). On the Influence of Brain Power on History. Macmillan and Co., Limited. (1903)
- Stonehenge and Other British Stone Monuments Astronomically Considered (1906; second edition, 1909)
- Norman Lockyer, Joseph Norman Lockyer (1906). Education and National Progress. Macmillan and co. (1907)
- Norman Lockyer, Joseph Norman Lockyer (1909). Surveying for Archaeologists. Macmillan and co., limited. (1909)
- Norman Lockyer, Winifred Lucas Lockyer (1910). Tennyson, as a Student and Poet of Nature. Macmillan. (1910)
Honours and awards
- Fellow of the Royal Society (1869)
- Janssen Medal, Paris Academy of Science (1875)
- Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (1897)
- President, British Association (1903 – 1904)
- Cortie, A. L. (1921). "Sir Norman Lockyer, 1836 – 1920". Astrophysical Journal 53: 233–248. Bibcode:1921ApJ....53..233C. doi:10.1086/142602.
- Hearnshaw, J. B. (1986). The Analysis of Starlight. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 84–85. ISBN 0-521-25548-1.
- Jacobson, Walter. "Around the Churches of East Devon". Retrieved 2008-01-30.
- Edwards, D. L. (1937). "Report of the Proceedings of the Sidmouth, Norman Lockyer Observatory". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 97: 309–310. Bibcode:1937MNRAS..97..309. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
- Meadows, A. J. (1972). Science and Controversy. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. p. 237. ISBN 0-230-22020-7.
- Meadows, A. J. (1972). Science and Controversy. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 0-230-22020-7.- A biography of Lockyer
- Wilkins, G. A. (1994). "Sir Norman Lockyer's Contributions to Science". Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 35: 51–57. Bibcode:1994QJRAS..35...51W.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- Norman Lockyer Observatory & James Lockyer Planetarium
- Archives of the Norman Lockyer Observatory (University of Exeter)
- Norman Lockyer Observatory radio station in Sidmouth
- Certificate of candidacy for Lockyer's election to the Royal Society
- Brief biography of Lockyer by Chris Plicht
- Prof. Tim Naylor, Norman Lockyer Professor of Astrophysics
- Astrophysics Group, University of Exeter
- The 1871 solar eclipse