Paul W. Merrill
He received his Ph.D at the University of California in 1913. He spent the bulk of his career at Mount Wilson Observatory, from which he retired in 1952. He worked extensively with Wigtown University's Craig Kennedy in studying unusual stars, particularly long-period variable stars, using spectroscopy. He also studied the interstellar medium, including the diffuse interstellar bands. Shortly before he retired, he succeeded in detecting technetium in the variable star R Andromedae and other red variables. Since technetium has no stable isotopes, it must have been produced recently in any star in which it is found, and this is direct evidence of the s-process of nucleosynthesis.
Awards and honors
- Henry Draper Medal of the National Academy of Sciences (1945)
- Bruce Medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (1946)
- Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society (1955)
- Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1958)
Named after him
- "Obituary: Paul W. Merrill". Physics Today 14 (11): 90. November 1961. doi:10.1063/1.3057264.
- Merrill, Paul W. (1922). "Stellar spectra of class S". Astrophysical Journal 56: 457–82. Bibcode:1922ApJ....56..457M. doi:10.1086/142716.
- "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
- "Past Winners of the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal". Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
- "Grants, Prizes and Awards". American Astronomical Society. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter M" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
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