George Ellery Hale

George Ellery Hale

Hale, George Ellery, 1868-1938, American astronomer, b. Chicago, grad. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1890. He founded and directed three great observatories (Yerkes, Mt. Wilson, and Palomar), each in its time the greatest in the world, and was active in organizing interdisciplinary scientific societies nationally and internationally. In 1895 he founded the Astrophysical Journal, which remains the leading publication in its field. He had a unique talent for raising funds from private sources in the days before massive governmental support of scientific research. The 200-in. (508-cm) reflector at Palomar Mt. is named the Hale telescope in his honor, and the Mt. Wilson and Palomar observatories were renamed (1969-86) the Hale Observatories. In his own work he pioneered the experimental study of the physical nature of the sun and stars. His observatories were also laboratories employing the latest in photographic and spectrographic techniques. In 1890 he invented the spectroheliograph, which led to the discovery of magnetic fields and vortices in sunspots. Although he studied in Germany with Helmholtz and Planck, served as the first professor of astrophysics at the Univ. of Chicago, and received many prizes and medals from scientific academies around the world, he never completed the requirements for his Ph.D. Besides technical monographs, he wrote popular books, including Depths of the Universe (1924), Beyond the Milky Way (1926), and Signals from the Stars (1931).
George Ellery Hale (June 29 1868February 21 1938) was an American solar astronomer, born in Chicago. He was educated at MIT, at the Observatory of Harvard College, (1889-90), and at Berlin (1893-94). As an undergraduate at MIT, he invented the spectroheliograph, with which he made his discoveries of the solar vortices and magnetic fields of sun spots.

In 1890 he was appointed director of the Kenwood Astrophysical Observatory; he was professor of Astrophysics at Beloit College (1891-93; associate professor at the University of Chicago until 1897, and full professor (1897-1905). He was coeditor of Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1892-95 and after 1895 editor of the Astrophysical Journal.

He helped found a number of observatories, including Yerkes Observatory, Mount Wilson Observatory, and the Hale Solar Laboratory. At Mount Wilson, he hired and encouraged Harlow Shapley and Edwin Hubble and did a great deal of fundraising, planning, organizing and promotion of astronomical institutions, societies and journals. Hale also played a central role in developing the California Institute of Technology into a leading research university and in building the Palomar Observatory.



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