Ira Sprague Bowen: 1898-1973. Astrophysicist; Director, Mt. Wilson Observatory, 1946-1964; Professor of Physics, Caltech 1926-45.
Much of his physics research was concerned with studies of spectral lines and spectroscopy; in the 1930s his interests turned
more to astronomy and astrophysics and he devised many new instruments and techniques for observational astronomy. Papers
include correspondence (ca. 1933-47), notebooks (many from his years at University of Chicago, 1916-21), articles, speeches,
One of the most distinguished astrophysicists of the twentieth century, Ira Sprague Bowen made fundamental contributions to
the analysis of atomic spectra, the physics of gaseous nebulae and practical optics. Born in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1898,
he graduated from Oberlin College in 1919 before entering the University of Chicago. There, he studied with Albert Michelson
who infused in Bowen a love of optics. He also met Robert A. Millikan, who invited him to the California Institute of Technology
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