Bowen , Ira Sprague
(1898–1973) American astronomer
Bowen, who was born in Seneca Falls, New York State, graduated from Oberlin College, Chicago in 1919 and gained his PhD from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena in 1926. He taught physics at Cal Tech from 1921 to 1945, serving from 1931 as professor. In 1946 he was made director of the Mount Wilson Observatory and in 1948 of the newly opened Palomar Observatory, posts he continued to hold until his retirement in 1964.
In 1928 Bowen tackled the problem of the strange lines first observed by William Huggins in the 1860s in the spectrum of planetary nebulae and the Orion nebula. The difficulty was, according to Bowen, that the strong lines had not been reproduced in the laboratory. Spectrographic evidence showed that such lines must be emitted by an element of low atomic weight. Talk of a new element, known as ‘nebulium’, that could produce the observed spectral lines was however dismissed by Bowen as nonsense.
Bowen was able to show that the lines were in fact due to radiation emitted from ionized atoms of oxygen and nitrogen as they decayed into more stable lower-energy levels. Specifically he was able to show that triply and doubly ionized oxygen as well as doubly ionized nitrogen would radiate at the wavelengths attributed to ‘nebulium’ but only in the highly rarefied conditions of nebulae where collisions between atoms are very infrequent. It is this radiation that contributes to the green and red colors observed in emission and planetary nebulae.

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ira Sprague Bowen — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bowen. Ira Sprague Bowen (21 décembre 1898 6 février 1973) est un astronome américain. Biographie Il est diplômé de l Oberlin College et du California Institute of Technology. Il fait de la physique de 1921 à… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ira Sprague Bowen — Nacimiento 21 de diciembre de 1898 Seneca Falls (Nueva York) Fallecimiento 6 de febrero de 1973 Residencia Estados Unidos Nacionalidad …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ira Sprague Bowen — (* 21. Dezember 1898 in Seneca Falls, New York, USA; † 6. Februar 1973) war ein US amerikanischer Astronom und Astrophysiker. Im Jahre 1919 schloss Bowen das Oberlin College erfolgreich ab und ging an die University of Chicago. Er studierte… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ira Sprague Bowen — (December 21, 1898 ndash; February 6, 1973) was an American astronomer. A graduate of Oberlin College and the California Institute of Technology, he taught physics at Caltech from 1921 to 1945. He served as director of both the Mount Wilson… …   Wikipedia

  • Ira Bowen — Ira Sprague Bowen Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bowen. Ira Sprague Bowen (21 décembre 1898 6 février 1973) est un astronome américain. Il est diplômé de l Oberlin College et du California Institute of Technology. Il fait de la physique de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ira S. Bowen — Ira Sprague Bowen Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bowen. Ira Sprague Bowen (21 décembre 1898 6 février 1973) est un astronome américain. Il est diplômé de l Oberlin College et du California Institute of Technology. Il fait de la physique de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ira Bowen — Ira Sprague Bowen (* 21. Dezember 1898 in Seneca Falls, New York, USA; † 6. Februar 1973) war ein US amerikanischer Astronom und Astrophysiker. Im Jahre 1919 schloss Bowen das Oberlin College erfolgreich ab und ging an die University of Chicago.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ira S. Bowen — Ira Sprague Bowen (* 21. Dezember 1898 in Seneca Falls, New York, USA; † 6. Februar 1973) war ein US amerikanischer Astronom und Astrophysiker. Im Jahre 1919 schloss Bowen das Oberlin College erfolgreich ab und ging an die University of Chicago.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bowen (Cratère) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bowen. Bowen Localisation Astre Lune Coordonnées 17°  36’  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bowen (cratere) — Bowen (cratère) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bowen. Bowen Localisation Astre Lune Coordonnées 17°  36’  …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”