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

Swings, Polydore Ferdinand Felix

  • Peter Wlasuk
Reference work entry

Alternate Name

 Swings, Pol Ferdinand Felix

BornRansart, Belgium, 24 September 1906

DiedEseneux, Belgium, 28 October 1983

Belgian spectroscopist Polydore Swings codiscovered the first interstellar molecule and identified a number of other molecules and radicals in the spectra of nebulae and comets. He was educated at the prestigious Athénée Charleroi, where an early interest in astronomy was stirred by the books of  Camille Flammarion, and studied celestial mechanics under Marcel Dehalu at the University of Liège, earning a first degree in 1927. Swings spent the next 2 years in France, taking courses at the Sorbonne, the Collège de France, and the Institute d’Optique and working at the Observatoire de Paris in Meudon, where he learned the techniques of astronomical spectroscopy.

Swings returned to Liège in 1928 and, apart from brief visits abroad, spent the rest of his academic career there. Delahu and he set up a laboratory to carry out spectroscopy, since the wavelengths to be...

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Selected References

  1. Garstang, R. H. (1986). “Pol Swings.” Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 27: 305–308.ADSGoogle Scholar
  2. Ledoux, P. (1984). “In Memoriam: Pol Swings.” Astrophysics and Space Science 102: 1–2.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Wlasuk
    • 1
  1. 1.Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA