Russell, Henry Norris

Determinations of Stellar Parallax

  • First edition, first impression. A very attractive copy of this work on stellar parallax by the astronomer who was described as "the most eminent and versatile theoretical astrophysicist in the United States if not in the world" by British astrophysicist F. J. M Stratton.

    Henry Norris Russell (1877-1957), who studied and worked at both Princeton and Cambridge, made important contributions to modern astronomy. "Russell pioneered in the use of atomic physics for the analysis of the stars and thus played a principal part in laying the foundations of present-day astrophysics. He analyzed the physical conditions and chemical compositions of stellar atmospheres and evaluated the relative abundance of the elements. His assertion of the overwhelming abundance of hydrogen was accepted, after prolonged controversy, as one of the basic facts of cosmology" (Princeton University biography).

    Russell's student Lyman Spitzer, Jr. later recalled that "Those who knew him in his later years remember him for his unbounded energy and his enthusiasm for ideas. It is characteristic of the man that he would frequently be so carried away in his graduate lectures that he would talk enthusiastically for an additional hour or two, carrying his fascinated audience into exciting new realms of research. He brought this same keenness and enthusiasm to all the many experiences in his full and active life -- to his extensive travels, his wide reading of both prose and poetry, and his happy hours with his grandchildren. He would keep small children engrossed for hours with the paper boats, balls, birds, and animals that he constructed with facility, his long, dextrous fingers folding and creasing the paper with unerring speed. His knowledge was encyclopedic; it included facts and theories not only in all branches of science but also in such varied subjects as the Bible and the wild flowers of New Jersey."

  • Based Upon Photographs Taken at the Cambridge Observatory by Arthur R. Hinks and the Author. With Magnitudes and Spectra Determined at the Harvard College Observatory under Direction of Professor E. C. Pickering. Washington D. C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1911. Tall quarto. Original dark blue cloth, titles to spine gilt. Tables and equations within the text. Spine a little rolled, minor scuffing to boards, slight bump to upper corner some tanning and offsetting of the contents. An excellent copy.

Collections: Astronomy & Cosmology

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