The Bruce Medalists


  Photo courtesy American Institute of Physics Niels Bohr Library
Arthur Stanley Eddington
28 December 1882 1924 Bruce Medalist 22 November 1944

Arthur Stanley Eddington was born in England and educated at Manchester and the University of Cambridge. He spent seven years as chief assistant at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich and forty-one as Plumian Professor at Cambridge. He made important investigations of stellar dynamics, and was an influential supporter of the view that the spiral nebulae were external galaxies. He contributed much to the introduction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity into cosmology, writing books on the new theory for both his fellow scientists and the public. He led one of the two 1919 solar eclipse expeditions which confirmed the predicted bending of starlight by gravity. Eddington's greatest contributions concerned the astrophysics of stars. He dealt with the importance of radiation pressure, the transfer of energy by radiation, the mass-luminosity relation, pulsations in Cepheid variables, and the very high densities of white dwarfs. He was one of the first to state that “subatomic” reactions must power the stars. He also investigated the physics of interstellar gas. Eddington wrote thirteen books, many of them for the general reader. The Internal Constitution of the Stars was extremely influential to a generation of astrophysicists.

Presentation of Bruce medal
Adams, W.S., PASP 36, 2-9 (1924).

Other awards
National Academy of Sciences, Henry Draper Medal, 1924.
Royal Astronomical Society, Gold medal, 1924, presented by J.L.E. Dreyer, MNRAS 84, 548 (1924).
Royal Society, Royal medal, 1928.

Some offices held
International Astronomical Union, President, 1938-43.
Royal Astronomical Society, President, 1921-23.

Biographical materials
Chandrasekhar, S., Eddington: The Most Distinguished Astrophysicist of His Time (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1983).
Crowther, J.G., British Scientists of the Twentieth Century (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1952).
Douglas, A. Vibert, Dictionary of Scientific Biography 4, 277-82.
Douglas, A. Vibert, The Life of Arthur Stanley Eddington (Thomas Nelson, London, 1956).
Evans, David S., The Eddington Enigma (Xlibris, Princeton, NJ, 1998).
Glass, Ian, Revolutionaries of the Cosmos: The Astro-Physicists (Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, UK, 2005).
Hutchinson, Ian, Astrophysics and Mysticism: the life of Arthur Stanley Eddington
Jacks, L.P., Sir Arthur Eddington, Man of Science and Mystic; the 2nd Arthur Stanley Eddington Memorial Lecture, 2 November 1948 (Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 1949).
Kilmister, C.W., Sir Arthur Eddington (Pergamon, Oxford, 1966).
McCrea, William H., “Arthur Stanley Eddington,” Scientific American A264, 92-97 (June 1991).
Mestel, Leon, “Arthur Stanley Eddington: Pioneer of Stellar Structure Theory,” Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage 7, 2, 65 - 73 (2004).
O’Connor, J.J. & E.F. Robertson, The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive.
Stanley, Matthew, “Explorer of Stars and Souls: Arthur Stanley Eddington,” Physics World 18, 9, 1 (Sept. 2005).
Stanley, Matthew, Practical Mystic: Religion, Science, and A. S. Eddington (Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2007).
Stanley, Matthew & Virginia Trimble, Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (Springer, NY, 2007), pp. 325-27.
Tenn, Joe S., “Arthur Stanley Eddington: A Centennial Tribute,” Mercury 11, (6), 178-81 and 186-88 (1982).
Tenn, Joseph S., “Arthur Stanley Eddington: The Nineteenth Bruce Medalist,” Mercury 22, 4, 119 (1993).
Whitrow, G.J., “Eddington,” QJRAS 24, 258-266 (1983).

Anonymous, The Times, London, 23 November, 1944.
Douglas, A. Vibert, JRASC 39, 1-4 (1945).
Dingle, Herbert, Observatory 66, 1-12 (1945) [with an afterward by H.N. Russell].
Plummer, H.C., Obituary Notices of the Royal Society of London 5, 113-25 (1945).
Russell, Henry Norris, Ap.J. 101, 133-35 (1945).
Spencer Jones, H. & E.T. Whittaker, MNRAS 105, 68-79 (1945).
PASP 57, 113 (1945). [excerpts from obituaries in 4 other journals]
More obituaries

University of Frankfurt
AIP Center for History of Physics (several)
Smithsonian Libraries
The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive

Named after him
Eddington approximation, Eddington-Lemaitre universe, Eddington limit, Eddington’s standard model
Royal Astronomical Society, Eddington medal
Lunar crater Eddington
Minor Planet #2761 Eddington

More references

The Bruce Medalists

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