Alfred Fowler

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For the American astrophysicist, see William Alfred Fowler.
Alfred Fowler
Alfred Fowler.jpg
Born (1868-03-22)22 March 1868
Yorkshire, England
Died 24 June 1940(1940-06-24) (aged 72)
Fields Astronomy
Notable awards Valz Prize (1913)
Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1915)
Royal Medal (1918)
Henry Draper Medal (1920)
Bruce Medal (1934)

Alfred Fowler, CBE FRS[1] (22 March 1868, in Yorkshire – 24 June 1940) was an English astronomer. Not to be confused with American astrophysicist William Alfred Fowler.

He was born in Wilsden, Yorkshire and educated at London's Normal School of Science, which was later absorbed into Imperial College, London.

He was appointed Instructor (later Assistant Professor) of Astrophysics at Imperial College and worked there until his death. He was an expert in spectroscopy, being one of the first to determine that the temperature of sunspots was cooler than that of surrounding regions.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1910, when his citation read

"Associate of the Royal College of Science. Assistant Professor of Physics (Astrophysics Department) Imperial College and Technology, South Kensington. Distinguished for his contributions to Astronomical Physics by spectroscopic observations of eclipses, solar pre-eminences, and sunspots, and by experimental researches bearing on their interpretation. Associated in observations of total eclipses of the sun with Sir Norman Lockyer in 1893, 1896, 1898, 1900, and (with Prof Callendar) in 1905. "
He was awarded their Royal Medal in 1918 and delivered their Bakerian Lectures in 1914 and 1924.

Fowler was president of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1919 to 1921 and died in Ealing, London in 1940.



Named after him

Published Papers[edit]

  • The Spectra of Metallic Arcs in an Exhausted Globe (with H Page, (Proc Roy Soc, vol lxxii);
  • Formulae for Spectrum Series (with H Shaw, Astrophys Journ, vols xviii, xxi);
  • The Spectra of Antarian Stars in relation to the Fluted Spectrum of Titanium (Proc Roy Soc, vol lxxiii, 1904);
  • Observations of the Spectra of Sunspots, Region C to D (Monthly Notices Roy Astron Soc, vol lxv, 1905);
  • Spectroscopic Observations of the Great Sunspot (February, 1905) and Associated Prominences (ibid, vol lxv, 1905);
  • Total Solar Eclipse, 1905, August 30 (with H L Callendar) (Proc Roy Soc, vol lxxvii, 1905);
  • High Level Chromosperic Lines and their Behaviour in Sunspot Spectra (Monthly Notices Roy Astron Soc, vol lxvi, 1906);
  • Observations and Discussion of the Spectra of Sunspots, Region B to E (Trans Internat Union Solar Research, vol i, 1906);
  • Enhanced Lines of Iron in the Region F to C, and Note on Silicon in the Chromosphere (Monthly Notices, Roy Astron Soc vol lxvii, 1906);
  • The Fluted Spectrum of Titanium Oxide (Proc Roy Soc, vol lxxx, 1907);
  • The Origin of certain Bands in the Spectra of Sunspots (Monthly Notices, Roy Astron Soc, vol lxvii, 1907);
  • Report of Committee on Sunspot Spectra (Trans Internat Union Solar Research, vol ii, 1908);
  • The Spectrum of Scandium and its relation to Solar Spectra (Phil Trans, A, 1908);
  • The Reproduction of Prismatic Spectrum Photographs on a Uniform Scale of Wave-lengths (Astrophys Journ, vol xxviii, 1908);
  • Spectroscopic Comparison of o Ceti with Titanium Oxide (Monthly Notices, Roy Astron Soc, vol lxix, 1909).


  1. ^ a b Dingle, H. (1941). "Alfred Fowler. 1868-1940". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 3 (9): 483–426. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1941.0016. 
  2. ^ "Notes". Nature. July 17, 1913. p. 511. 
  3. ^ "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 

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