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

Crew, Henry

  • William SheehanEmail author
Reference work entry

BornRichmond, Ohio, USA, 4 June 1859

DiedEvanston, Illinois, USA, 17 February 1953

Henry Crew was an early member of the staff of Lick Observatory and the first member of the staff to have earned a Ph.D. He attempted to develop methods of astronomical spectroscopy based on ruled gratings, such as his mentor  Henry Rowland had been developing, but was not entirely successful, and went on to spend most of the rest of his career outside of astronomy as a professor of physics at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

After finishing an AB degree from Princeton in 1882, Crew received a fellowship to study physics for 1 year in Berlin under  Hermann Helmholtz. At the time all Americans interested in experimental physics were expected to spend time in Europe, preferably in Germany. In 1884, Crew returned to the United States and entered the new experimental physics doctoral program that had just been established by one of Helmholtz’s students, Rowland, at Johns Hopkins University.


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Selected References

  1. Donald E. Osterbrock, James E. Keeler: pioneer American astrophysicist and the early development of American astrophysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.Google Scholar
  2. Donald E. Osterbrock, John E. Gustafson, and W. J. Shiloh Unruh, Eye on the Sky: Lick Observatory’s first century. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.Google Scholar
  3. William F. Meggers, “Henry Crew, 1859–1953.” Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 64 (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1964), 33–54.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lowell ObservatoryFlagstaffUSA