John D. Strong

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John D. Strong
Riverdale, Kansas
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Known forOptics
AwardsSPIE Gold Medal (1977)
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics, Astronomy
InstitutionsCaltech, Harvard, Johns Hopkins University
Doctoral studentsMartin Summerfield

John Donovan Strong (1905-1992) was an American physicist and astronomer.[1] Strong, one of the world’s foremost optical scientists, was known for being the first to detect water vapor in the atmosphere of Venus and for developing a number of innovations in optical devices, ranging from improved telescope mirrors to anti-reflective coatings for optical elements and diffraction gratings.


Born in Lawrence, Kansas in 1905, Strong received degrees from the University of Kansas (BA 1926) and the University of Michigan (M.S., 1928, Ph.D., 1930). After twelve years at Caltech and wartime research at Harvard on infrared systems, Strong became professor and director of the Astrophysics and Physical Meteorology Laboratories at Johns Hopkins University in 1946, where, among many other projects, he conducted research on balloon astronomy for the Office of Naval Research (ONR).


Strong published hundreds of papers throughout his career and was author of Procedures in Experimental Physics, a standard physics textbook for many years. Strong served as president of the American Optical Association in 1959 and patented numerous inventions for optics in spectroscopy as well as golf (see US Patent no. 3720467[2]). Strong died in 1992.


  1. ^ Sanderson, John A. (March 1993). "John Donovan Strong". Physics Today. 46 (3): 102–103. doi:10.1063/1.2808855.
  2. ^[permanent dead link]

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