Sunday, August 9, 2009

August 9: William Alfred Fowler

William Alfred "Willie" Fowler
August 9, 1911 – March 14, 1995

William Alfred "Willie" Fowler was an American astrophysicist. He should not be confused with the British astronomer Alfred Fowler.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Fowler moved with his family to Lima, Ohio at the age of two. He graduated from the Ohio State University, where he was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and went on to receive a Ph.D. in nuclear physics at the California Institute of Technology.

His seminal paper Synthesis of the Elements in Stars (Reviews of Modern Physics, vol. 29, Issue 4, pp. 547–650), coauthored with E. Margaret Burbidge, Geoffrey Burbidge, and Fred Hoyle, was published in 1957. The paper explained how the abundances of essentially all but the lightest chemical elements could be explained by the process of nucleosynthesis in stars.

Fowler won the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society in 1963, the Eddington Medal in 1978, the Bruce Medal in 1979, and the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983 for his theoretical and experimental studies of the nuclear reactions of importance in the formation of the chemical elements in the universe (shared with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar).

1 comment:

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