Russell, Henry Norris


American astronomer at Princeton 1905-47, co-wrote early 20th century influential textbook



Type: Signed Card
Description:  (1877-1957) American astronomer who, with Ejnar Hertzsprung, developed the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram (1910). In 1923, with Frederick Saunders, developed Russell–Saunders coupling, also known as “LS coupling”.

He studied astronomy at Princeton, 1899 Ph.D.  He worked at Cambridge Observatory 1903-05 with Arthur Robert Hinks as a Carnegie Institution research assistant and came under the influence of George Darwin, Charles Darwin’s son.

He was a Princeton instructor in astronomy 1905–08, asst. professor 1908–11, professor 1911–27, and research professor 1927–47. He was also the director of the Princeton University Observatory 1912-47 where Charlotte Moore Sitterly helped him measure and calculate the properties of stars.

Russell co-wrote an influential 2-volume textbook in 1927 with Raymond S. Dugan and John Q. Stewart: “Astronomy: A Revision of Young’s Manual of Astronomy”, the standard astronomy textbook for about 2 decades. There were 2 volumes: the 1st was “The Solar System”, the 2nd was “Astrophysics and Stellar Astronomy”. The text popularized the idea that a star’s properties (radius, surface temperature, luminosity, etc.) were largely determined by the star’s mass and chemical composition, which became known as the Vogt-Russell theorem (with Heinrich Vogt who independently discovered the result). Since a star’s chemical composition gradually changes with age (usually in a non-homogeneous fashion), stellar evolution results.

He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1921), year he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. In 1922, he received the Lalande Prize and the National Academy of Science’s Henry Draper Medal. In 1925, he was awarded the Bruce Medal and the Rumford Prize, and received other awards thereafter to honor his contributions to astronomy. Asteroid 1762 Russell is named for him.

Autograph Sentiment (“With all good wishes”) Signed, Cairo, December 24 1951 added by him.

Condition: Very good





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