William Alfred Fowler
August 9, 1911|
|Died||March 14, 1995
|Doctoral advisor||Charles Christian Lauritsen|
|Doctoral students||George M. Fuller, Donald Clayton, F. Curtis Michel|
|Notable awards||Nobel Prize in Physics (1983)|
William Alfred "Willy" Fowler (//; August 9, 1911 – March 14, 1995) was an American astrophysicist who, with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar won the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physics. He should not be confused with the British astronomer Alfred Fowler.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Fowler moved with his family to Lima, Ohio at the age of two. He graduated from the Ohio State University, where he was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and went on to receive a Ph.D. in nuclear physics at the California Institute of Technology. His seminal paper Synthesis of the Elements in Stars (Reviews of Modern Physics, vol. 29, Issue 4, pp. 547–650), coauthored with E. Margaret Burbidge, Geoffrey Burbidge, and Fred Hoyle, was published in 1957. The paper explained how the abundances of essentially all but the lightest chemical elements could be explained by the process of nucleosynthesis in stars. It is widely known as B²FH.
Fowler won the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society in 1963, the Vetlesen Prize in 1973, the Eddington Medal in 1978, the Bruce Medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 1979, and the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his theoretical and experimental studies of the nuclear reactions of importance in the formation of the chemical elements in the universe (shared with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar). A lifelong fan of steam locomotives, he owned several working models of various sizes. He died in Pasadena, California.
- Burbidge, G., Burbidge, E. M., Fowler, W. A., and Hoyle, F., "Synthesis of the Elements in Stars," Reviews of Modern Physics, 29(4), 547-650, 1957.
- Fowler, W. A., "Temperature and Density Conditions for Nucleogenesis by Fusion Processes in Stars", W. K. Kellogg Radiation Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission, (June 1958).
- Seeger, P. A.& W. A. Fowler. "Integrated Flux Distributions in Neutron Capture in Stars", Los Alamos National Laboratory (through predecessor the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory), California Institute of Technology, United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission), (September 23, 1965).
- Colgate, S. A., Audouze, J. & W. A. Fowler. "Helium (3) Rich Solar Flares", Los Alamos National Laboratory (through predecessor the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory), United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Energy Research and Development Administration), (May 3, 1977).
- Biography and Bibliographic Resources, from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, United States Department of Energy
- W.A. Fowler: Radioactive elements of a low atomic number, Ph.D. dissertation
- A Brief Autobiography of W.A. Fowler
- Bruce Medal page
- Guide to the Papers of William A. Fowler, 1917-1994
- Caughlan and Fowler 1988: THERMONUCLEAR REACTION RATES, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- Interview with William A. Fowler, Caltech Archives Oral Histories Online