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

Cousins, Alan William James

  • John MenziesEmail author
Reference work entry

BornCape Town, South Africa, 8 August 1903

DiedCape Town, South Africa, 11 May 2001

Throughout his astronomical career, Alan Cousins showed an almost obsessive interest in stellar photometry, and specifically in the photometry of standard stars.

Cousins’s father, who emigrated from Britain to South Africa, became a senior civil servant, at one time Secretary of Labour. His mother was a daughter of Sir James Murray, first editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Cousins was the eldest of four children and moved to Pretoria with his family where he completed his later schooling. At the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, Cousins studied mechanical and electrical engineering and graduated with a B.Sc. in 1925, being awarded the vice chancellor’s prize for best student. In 1938, he married Alison Mavis Donaldson, and they had two children.

Cousins worked for some 20 years in the electrical utility industry, during which time he made numerous observations of variable stars. He...

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Selected References

  1. Cousins, A. W. J. (1971). Photometric Standard Stars. Royal Observatory Annals No. 7.Google Scholar
  2. — (1976). “VRI Standards in the E Regions.” Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society 81: 25–36.Google Scholar
  3. Cousins, A. W. J. and R. H. Stoy (1962). “Standard Magnitudes in the E Regions.” Royal Observatory Bulletin No. 49.Google Scholar
  4. Glass, I. S. (2001). “Alan Cousins 1903–2001.” Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa 60: 67–87.ADSGoogle Scholar
  5. Hearnshaw, J. B. (1996). The Measurement of Starlight:Two Centuries of Astronomical Photometry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, esp. pp. 442–444, 446–447.Google Scholar
  6. Williams, Thomas R. and M. Danie Overbeek (2001). “The End of an Era: A. W. J. Cousins 1903–2001.” Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers 30, no. 1: 58–61.ADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South African Astronomical ObservatoryCape TownSouth Africa