The Bruce Medalists


  portrait Photo 1901, courtesy Mary Lea Shane Archives, Lick Observatory
William Wallace Campbell
11 April 1862 1915 Bruce Medalist 14 June 1938

Wallace Campbell studied civil engineering at the University of Michigan, then taught astronomy there from 1888 to 1891. In 1890 he worked as a summer volunteer at Lick Observatory where he learned spectroscopy under James E. Keeler, whom he succeeded the following year. From 1900 to 1930 he was director of Lick, although for the last seven years he was actually at Berkeley as president of the University of California. After important spectroscopic studies of Mars, hot stars, nebulae and Nova Aurigae, he headed a vast program of photographically measuring radial velocities of stars. He founded the Lick southern station in Chile and designed the Mills spectrographs. He discovered numerous spectroscopic binaries, and he determined the motion of the solar system with respect to surrounding stars. He also led a number of eclipse expeditions, one of which (in 1922) confirmed the Einstein deflection of light by the sun.

Presentation of Bruce medal
Crawford, Russell Tracy, PASP 27, 153-60 (1915).

Other awards
French Academy of Sciences, Lalande Medal, 1903; Janssen Medal, 1910.
National Academy of Sciences, Henry Draper Medal, 1906.
Royal Astronomical Society, Gold medal, 1906, presented by Maw, W.H., MNRAS 66, 245 (1906).

Some offices held
American Association for the Advancement of Science, President, 1915.
American Astronomical Society, President, 1922-25.
Astronomical Society of the Pacific, President, 1895, 1910, 1918.
International Astronomical Union, President, 1922-25.
National Academy of Sciences, President, 1931-35.

Biographical materials
Abrams, John W., Dictionary of Scientific Biography 3, 35-37.
Tenn, Joseph S., “W. Wallace Campbell: The Twelfth Bruce Medalist,” Mercury 21, 2, 62 (1992).
Tenn, Joseph S., Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (Springer, NY, 2007), pp. 195-97.
University of California History
Wright, W.H., Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences 25, 35-74.

Aitken, Robert G., PASP 50, 204-09 (1938).
Aitken, Robert G., Science 88, 25-28 (1938).
Dyson, F.W., Obituary Notices of the Fellows of the Royal Society 2, 613-19 (1939).
Merrill, P.W., MNRAS 99, 317-21 (1939).
Moore, J.H., Ap.J. 89, 143-51 (1939).
Schlesinger, Frank, Popular Astronomy 47, 2-5 (1939).
More obituaries

Caltech Archives
University of California Bancroft Library

Named after him
Lunar crater Campbell (with astronomer Leon Campbell)
Martian crater Campbell (with physicist John W. Campbell)
Minor Planet #2751 Campbell
Campbell Hall, home of the astronomy department at the University of California at Berkeley (old Campbell Hall)

More references

The Bruce Medalists

Please send comments, additions, corrections, and questions to