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For the baseball player, see George Hale (baseball). For the Kansas City fire chief, see George C. Hale.
George Ellery Hale
Portrait of George Ellery Hale.jpg
George Ellery Hale, c. 1913
Born (1868-06-29)June 29, 1868
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died February 21, 1938(1938-02-21) (aged 69)
Pasadena, California, USA
Nationality American
Fields Astronomy
Institutions Caltech
Alma mater MIT
Known for Spectroheliograph
Notable awards
Spouse Evelina Conklin Hale

George Ellery Hale (June 29, 1868 – February 21, 1938) was an American solar astronomer.

Biography[edit]

George Ellery Hale was born on June 29, 1868 in Chicago, Illinois to William Ellery Hale and Mary Browne.[1] He is descended from Thomas Hale of Watton-on-Stone, Hertfordshire, England, whose son emigrated to America about 1640.[1] His father acquired a considerable fortune manufacturing and installing passenger elevators during the reconstruction of Chicago, which had been destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.[2] The oldest of three children, George received strong encouragement from his father, who supported the boy's active mind and curiosity, and his mother, who inculcated in him a love of poetry and literature.[3] He spent his youth fascinated by the books and machinery given to him by his parents—one of his most prized possessions was a small microscope. With his father's encouragement, he built a small shop in their house that turned into a laboratory.[4] The microscope led to his interest in optics. At the age of fourteen, George built his first telescope. His father later replaced it with a second-hand Clark refractor that they mounted on the roof of their Kenwood house.[4] Soon he was photographing the night skies, observing a partial eclipse of the sun, and drawing sun-spots.

As an avid reader with a strong interest in the budding field of astrophysics, Hale was drawn to the writings of William Huggins, Norman Lockyer, and Ernest Rutherford.[5] His fascination with science, however, did not preclude interests more typical of a normal boy, such as fishing, boating, swimming, skating, tennis, and bicycling.[5] He was an enthusiastic reader of the stories of Jules Verne—particularly drawn to the tales of adventure set in the mountains of California.[5] Hale spent summers at his grandmother's house in the old New England village of Madison, Connecticut, where he met his future wife, Evelina Conklin.[6] After graduating from Oakland Public School in Chicago, Hale attended the Allen Academy, where he studied chemistry, physics, and astronomy.[7] He supplemented his practical home experience by attended a course in shop-work at the Chicago Manual Training School.[7] During these years, Hale developed a knowledge of the principles of architecture and city planning with the help of his father's friend, well-known architect Daniel Burnham. Upon Burnham's advice and encouragement, Hale decided at the age of seventeen to continue his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).[7]

Hale was educated at MIT, at the Harvard College Observatory, (1889–90), and at Berlin (1893–94). As an undergraduate at MIT, he is known for inventing the spectrohelioscope, with which he made his discovery of solar vortices. In 1908, he used the Zeeman effect with a modified spectrohelioscope to establish that sunspots were magnetic.[8] Subsequent work demonstrated a strong tendency for east-west alignment of magnetic polarities in sunspots, with mirror symmetry across the solar equator; and that the polarity in each hemisphere switched orientation from one sunspot cycle to the next.[9] This systematic property of sunspot magnetic fields is now commonly referred to as the "Hale–Nicholson law,"[10] or in many cases simply "Hale's law."

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, 1892–95, and after 1895 editor of the Astrophysical Journal. He also served on the board of trustees for Science Service, now known as Society for Science & the Public, from 1921 to 1923.

In October 1913, Hale received a letter from Albert Einstein, asking whether certain astronomical observations could be done that would test Einstein's hypothesis concerning the effects of gravity on light. Hale replied in November, saying that such observations could be done only during a total eclipse of the sun.[11]

Hale was a driven individual, who worked to found a number of significant astronomical observatories, including Yerkes Observatory, Mount Wilson Observatory, Palomar Observatory, and the Hale Solar Laboratory. At Mount Wilson, he hired and encouraged Harlow Shapley and Edwin Hubble toward some of the most significant discoveries of the time. He was a prolific organizer who helped create a number of astronomical institutions, societies and journals. Hale also played a central role in developing the California Institute of Technology into a leading research university. After retiring as director at Mount Wilson, he built the Hale Solar Laboratory in Pasadena, California, as his office and workshop, pursuing his interest in the sun.[12][13]

From early youth, Hale had been internationally oriented, travelling widely throughout Europe in his younger years. Having long realized the value of an international organization to coordinate scientific research, he pursued, as chairman of a committee of the National Academy of Sciences of the US, the formation of an international organization fir solar research. The society's inaugural meeting was held at the St. Louis Exposition of 1904 and included representatives from 16 national scientific societies, but notably not from the Prussian Academy of Sciences, which had declined the invitation. (Instead, German delegates from the German Physical Society were present.) The delegates proceeded to appoint a committee that was to create the International Union for Cooperation in Solar Research as a permanent international scientific organization; the new union had its first constituted meeting at Oxford in England a year later. Further meetings were held in Paris in 1907 and at Mount Wilson in 1910, where the purview of the Union was enlarged to include stellar research, in keeping with Hale's emphasis on the Sun as just one among the many other stars. Shortly after the last meeting in Bonn in 1913, World War I broke out, which effectively put an end to the Union's activities, which would later find continuation after the 1919 founding of the International Astronomical Union.[14]

During the war, Hale played a key role in founding the National Research Council to support the government in using science for its policy aims, in particular to further its military ends.[14]

Hale suffered from neurological and psychological problems, including insomnia, frequent headaches, and depression. The often-repeated myth of schizophrenia,[15] alleging he claimed to have regular visits from an elf who acted as his advisor, arose from a misunderstanding by one of his biographers. [16] He used to take time off to spend a few months at a sanatorium in Maine. These problems forced him to resign as director of Mount Wilson.[15]

Honors and awards[edit]

Legacy[edit]

A bust of George Ellery Hale at Palomar Observatory

Popular culture[edit]

Fox Mulder uses the pseudonym "George E. Hale" on several occasions in the TV series The X-Files, most notable in Season 2, Episode 1 "Little Green Men", and Season 2, Episode 4 "Sleepless".

Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule has an episode on "space" which references a real fact about Hale in passing.

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b Adams 1939, p. 181.
  2. ^ Adams 1939, p. 182.
  3. ^ Adams 1939, pp. 182–83.
  4. ^ a b Adams 1939, p. 183.
  5. ^ a b c Adams 1939, p. 184.
  6. ^ Adams 1939, pp. 184–85.
  7. ^ a b c Adams 1939, p. 185.
  8. ^ Hale, G. E. (1908). "On the Probable Existence of a Magnetic Field in Sun-Spots". The Astrophysical Journal 28: 315. Bibcode:1908ApJ....28..315H. doi:10.1086/141602.  edit
  9. ^ Hale, G. E.; Ellerman, F.; Nicholson, S. B.; Joy, A. H. (1919). "The Magnetic Polarity of Sun-Spots". The Astrophysical Journal 49: 153. Bibcode:1919ApJ....49..153H. doi:10.1086/142452.  edit
  10. ^ Astrophysics of the sun, Harold Zirin, Cambridge University Press, 1988, p.307; http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1988assu.book.....Z
  11. ^ http://alberteinstein.info/vufind1/images/einstein/ear01/view/1/72-296_000012024.pdf
  12. ^ "George Ellery Hale". Mount Wilson Observatory Association. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  13. ^ "Hale Solar Laboratory". Astronomy and Astrophysics. U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  14. ^ a b Walter S. Adams: "The History of the International Astronomical Union" in Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Bd. 61 (1949), S. 5-12. ADS Entry
  15. ^ a b Hale, George Ellery (1868-1938) – from Eric Weisstein's World of Scientific Biography. Scienceworld.wolfram.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  16. ^ Hale's "Little Elf": The Mental Breakdowns of George Ellery Hale, Sheehan, W. & Osterbrock, D. E., Journal for the History of Astronomy, xxxi (2000), p.93; http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/2000JHA....31...93S
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "The Case File: George Ellery Hale". The Franklin Institute. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  19. ^ "Prix et Médailles décernés par la Société depuis sa fondation". L'Astronomie (SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System) 93: 543. 1979. Retrieved March 2, 2014. 
  20. ^ "The Arthur Noble Medal, City of Pasadena". The Caltech Archives. 1926. Retrieved March 2, 2014. 
  21. ^ Newall, pp. 522–26.
Bibliography

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Ellery_Hale — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
87 videos foundNext > 

Journey to Palomar

Meet the filmmakers and watch clips of the award-winning PBS documentary which tells the remarkable life story of astrophysicist George Ellery Hale as he struggles both personally and professionall...

Seeing the Invisible: What is Dark Matter?

Monday, May 19th 2014 Dr. Andrew Benson George Ellery Hale Distinguished Scholar in Theoretical Astrophysics, The Carnegie Observatories Astronomy tells us that most of our universe is made...

The Nora and Edward Ryerson Lecture: Quarks and the Cosmos

Pioneering University of Chicago cosmologist Michael S. Turner focuses his remarks on "the Chicago School of Cosmology," from Edwin Hubble and George Ellery Hale to the present. Hubble, SB...

Mount Wilson Observatory

Tour a 150-foot solar tower overlooking Los Angeles at Mount Wilson Observatory, a facility dedicated to the continued study of astronomy and solar observations. The observatory was founded...

Eyes On The Skies (2): Bigger Is Better (HD Quality)

http://www.facebook.com/ScienceReason ... "Eyes On The Skies" - The International Astronomical Union's book and movie celebrating the 400th anniversary of the telescope. "Eyes On The Skies"...

LCFF for Hale (George Ellery) Middle

The Journey to Palomar

The trailer to the PBS documentary on George Ellery Hale.

California's Gold #147 MT. WILSON

Founded in December 1904 by George Ellery Hale, Mount Wilson Observatory would quickly rise to dominate astronomy worldwide. The Observatory hosts several of the most technologically advanced ...

California's Gold #147 - MT. WILSON v2

Founded in December 1904 by George Ellery Hale, Mount Wilson Observatory would quickly rise to dominate astronomy worldwide. The Observatory hosts several of the most technologically advanced ...

Climbing the 60ft tower at Mt. Wilson, Los Angeles, California.

Constructed in 1908, George Ellery Hale used this telescope to identify magnetic fields in sunspots, the first time that a magnetic field had been shown to exist outside of the Earth. His discovery...

87 videos foundNext > 

224 news items

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (press release)

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (press release)
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 03:52:30 -0700

Dr. George Doschek, a Research Physicist in the Solar and Heliospheric Physics Branch at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), has been honored with the 2015 George Ellery Hale Prize in solar physics. The prestigious Hale Prize, named in memory ...

U-T San Diego

U-T San Diego
Mon, 08 Dec 2014 07:17:18 -0800

A bust of George Ellery Hale greets visitors to the Palomar Observatory. An inscription dedicates the ivory Art Deco dome to the astronomer “whose vision and leadership made it a reality.” Afflicted by insomnia and depression, Hale was no ray of sunshine.

Universe Today

Universe Today
Mon, 02 Feb 2015 13:50:08 -0800

Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night is a finished work of art known to billions. After 13.8 billion years, the Universe remains an unfinished work. Planck Observatory data revealing the Milky Way's magnetic field is morphed into a Starry Night of June 1889.

Hyde Park Herald

Hyde Park Herald
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 08:34:20 -0800

William Hale was supportive, to say the least, of his son George Ellery Hale and his interest in astronomy. The elder Hale commissioned Burnham & Root to design an observatory in the backyard and by 1891 George achieved important results with his new ...

Space.com

Space.com
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 22:45:42 -0700

Mount Wilson Observatory was founded in 1904 by George Ellery Hale, a pioneer in the field of astrophysics who studied chemical and physical processes in stars, according to the observatory's website. Hale began work on the mountaintop with the Snow ...
 
The Pasadena Star-News
Sun, 28 Dec 2014 18:29:37 -0800

George Ellery Hale was president with many distinguished members. Just east of Pasadena on the Santa Anita ranch was Anoakia, the grand home of Mrs. Anita Baldwin McCaughry, daughter of the notorious Lucky Baldwin. Mrs. McCaughry selected the ...
 
Universe Today
Fri, 05 Dec 2014 07:11:17 -0800

It's hard to do many types of astronomy in the daylight, so that can be a good time to do a different kind of observing — enjoying the architecture of the telescope! This new video shot by a drone shows off Yerkes Observatory in snowy Williams Bay ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Sat, 17 Jan 2015 05:09:33 -0800

The satellites will replicate a solar eclipse to study the sun's corona free of light pollution The Proba-3 satellites will replicate a solar eclipse in order to study the sun's corona free of light pollution. Photograph: P. Carril/ESA. Robin McKie ...
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