William Wallace Campbell
He was born on a farm in Hancock county, Ohio, the son of Robert Wilson and Harriet Welsh Campbell. After a few years of local schooling he entered in 1882 the University of Michigan to study civil engineering, graduating Bachelor of Science in 1886. Whilst at university he developed his interest in astronomy when he read Simon Newcomb's Popular Astronomy.
After graduating he was appointed Professor of Mathematics at the University of Colorado but soon moved back to Michigan as an instructor in astronomy. In 1891 he was invited to work on spectroscopy at Lick Observatory in California. Campbell was a pioneer of astronomical spectroscopy and catalogued the radial velocities of stars. He was made a director of Lick Observatory from 1901 to 1930. He led a team to Australia in 1922 where he photographed a solar eclipse. The data obtained provided further evidence supporting Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. In 1931 he accepted the rôle of president of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington (1931–1935).
He served as 10th President of the University of California from 1923 to 1930. He also served on the board of trustees for Science Service, now known as Society for Science & the Public, from 1923-1926. He served three terms as president of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (in 1895, 1909 and 1918).
He committed suicide in California at the age of 76 by leaping to his death from a fourth-story window in San Francisco. He was mostly blind and suffering from bouts of aphasia. This was not only very frustrating to him, but he felt that it left him a burden to his family in terms of care and expense, according to notes he left behind at the time of his death. He had married Elizabeth Ballard Thompson in 1892; they had three sons.
Honors and awards
- Lalande Medal of the French Academy of Sciences (1903)
- Henry Draper Medal from the National Academy of Sciences (1906)
- Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1906)
- Janssen Medal (1910)
- Bruce Medal (1915)
- Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London
Crocker expeditions led by Campbell
- Solar eclipse of January 22, 1898, Jeur, Maharashtra, India
- Solar eclipse of May 28, 1900, Thomaston, Georgia
- Solar eclipse of August 30, 1905, Alhama, Spain
- Solar eclipse of January 3, 1908, Flint Island, Kiribati
- Solar eclipse of August 21, 1914, Brovary, Ukraine
- Solar eclipse of June 8, 1918, Goldendale, Washington
- Solar eclipse of September 21, 1922, Wallal, Australia
- Aitken, R. G. (1938). "William Wallace Campbell, 1862-1938". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 50: 204. Bibcode:1938PASP...50..204A. doi:10.1086/124927.
- Moore, J. H. (1939). "William Wallace Campbell, 1862-1938". The Astrophysical Journal 89: 143. Bibcode:1939ApJ....89..143M. doi:10.1086/144035.
- MNRAS 99 (1939) 317 Obituary
- Hockey, Thomas (2009). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- "UC Presidents." University of California. University of California, 04/27/2007. Web. 1 Sep 2011.
- "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
- Awarding of RAS gold medal: MNRAS 66 (1906) 245
- Crawford, R. T. (1915). "Address upon the Presentation of the Bruce Gold Medal to Dr. W. W. CAMPBELL". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 27: 153. Bibcode:1915PASP...27..153C. doi:10.1086/122422.
- Dyson, F. W. (1939). "William Wallace Campbell. 1862-1938". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society 2 (7): 612–626. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1939.0021.
- "List of solar eclipse expeditions". The Adolfo Stahl Lectures in astronomy, delivered in San Francisco, 1916-1917 and 1917-1918. Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 1919. p. 65.
David Prescott Barrows
|President of the University of California
Robert Gordon Sproul