The Bruce Medalists

 

  portrait Photo ©Royal Astronomical Society, courtesy Peter Hingley
Frank Watson Dyson
8 January 1868 1922 Bruce Medalist 25 May 1939

Frank W. Dyson, the son of a minister, won scholarships to secondary school and Cambridge University, where he studied mathematics and astronomy. Dyson spent his entire career, except for five years in Edinburgh, at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, where he was Director and Astronomer Royal from 1910 to 1933. At Greenwich he directed measurements of terrestrial magnetism, latitude, and time, and he initiated the radio broadcast of time. He determined proper motions of northern stars and completed his portion of the international Carte du Ciel project of photographing the entire sky. Dyson is best known for directing (with Arthur Stanley Eddington) the 1919 eclipse expedition which confirmed the bending of starlight by the sun's gravity, as predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity.

Presentation of Bruce medal
Cushing, Charles S., PASP 34, 2-10 (1922).

Other awards
Royal Astronomical Society, Gold medal, 1925, presented by J.H. Jeans, MNRAS 85, 672 (1925).
Royal Society, Royal medal, 1921.

Some offices held
International Astronomical Union, President, 1928-32.
Royal Astronomical Society, President, 1911-13.
United Kingdom, Astronomer Royal, 1910-33.

Biographical materials
Bitterman, Jay, Lake County Astronomical Society
Eric, Dead Scientist of the Week
Greenwich 2000
National Maritime Museum
Ronan, Colin A., Dictionary of Scientific Biography 4, 269-70.
Steiner, Robert, Biography accompanying index to papers, Royal Greenwich Observatory Archives, University of Cambridge
Tenn, Joseph S., “Frank Dyson: The Seventeenth Bruce Medalist,” Mercury 22, 2, 49 (1993).
Tenn, Joseph S., Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (Springer, NY, 2007), pp. 320-21.
Wilson, Margaret Dyson [daughter], Ninth Astronomer Royal; the Life of Frank Watson Dyson (Published for the Dyson family by W. Heffer, Cambridge, UK, 1951).

Obituaries
Aitken, R.G., PASP 51, 336-38 (1939).
Eddington, A.S., Obituary Notices of the Royal Society of London 3, 159-72 (1939-41).
Jackson, J., MNRAS 100, 238-46 (1940).
Schlesinger, Frank, Popular Astronomy 47, 523-25 (1939).
Spencer Jones, H., Observatory 62, 179-87 (1939).

Portraits
AIP Center for History of Physics
National Maritime Museum (painting)
British Pathé, Dyson opening University of London Observatory, 1929 (silent movie)

Named after him
Lunar crater Dyson
Minor Planet #1241 Dysona

More references

The Bruce Medalists


Please send comments, additions, corrections, and questions to
joe.tenn@sonoma.edu
JST
2015-11-11