Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Spitzer, Lyman, Jr.

  • Satoru Ikeuchi
Reference work entry

BornToledo, Ohio, USA, 26 June 1914

DiedPrinceton, New Jersey, USA, 31 March 1997

American astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer, Jr. made major contributions to our understanding of diffuse gases, especially the interstellar medium, and was among the first to strongly urge the construction of a large optical telescope in space. He was the son of Blanche C. and Lyman Spitzer, and married Doreen Canaday in 1940.

Lyman Spitzer was educated at Phillips Academy (Andover), Yale University (BA: 1935), Cambridge University (where he attended informal lectures by  Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar at Trinity College), and Princeton University, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1938 for work with  Henry Norris Russell on the analysis of spectra of cool supergiant stars. Spitzer held a National Research Council Fellowship at Harvard (1938/1939), where  Harlow Shapley,  Donald Menzel,  Bart Bok, and  Martin Schwarzschildwere particularly influential. He was an instructor at Yale (1939–1942), before moving to war work...

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Selected References

  1. King, Ivan R. (1997). “Lyman Spitzer, Jr., 1914–1997.” Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 29: 1489–1491.ADSGoogle Scholar
  2. Smith, Robert W. (1989). The Space Telescope: A Study of NASA, Science, Technology, and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Spitzer Jr., Lyman (1952). Interstellar Matter. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Observatory. (A set of notes prepared by John B. Rogerson from lectures by Spitzer.)Google Scholar
  4. — (1962). Physics of Fully Ionized Gases. 2nd rev. ed. New York: Interscience.Google Scholar
  5. — (1968). Diffuse Matter in Space. New York: Interscience.Google Scholar
  6. — (1978). Physical Processes in the Interstellar Medium. New York: Wiley-Interscience.Google Scholar
  7. — (1982). Searching between the Stars. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  8. — (1987). Dynamical Evolution of Globular Clusters. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  9. — (1989). “Dreams, Stars, and Electrons.” Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics. 27: 1–17.Google Scholar
  10. Spitzer Jr., Lyman and J. P. Ostriker (eds.) (1997). Dreams, Stars, and Electrons: Selected Writings of Lyman Spitzer, Jr. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. (Ostriker was Spitzer’s successor as Princeton Observatory director and department chair.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satoru Ikeuchi
    • 1
  1. 1.Nagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan