The Bruce Medalists


  portrait Photo ca. 1960, ©Godfrey Argent Studio, courtesy Prof. Cowling
Thomas George Cowling
17 June 1906 1985 Bruce Medalist 16 June 1990

A student of E. Arthur Milne at Oxford, Thomas Cowling did research with Sydney Chapman at Imperial College, London and taught applied mathematics at the universities of Wales (University College Swansea), Dundee, Manchester, and Bangor. From 1948 until his death he was at the University of Leeds, from which he retired in 1970. His early work on stellar structure included studies of convection and radiation in transporting stellar energy and the stability of stars. He was first to compute a stellar model (the “Cowling model”) with a convective core and a radiative envelope. This work paralleled that of Ludwig Biermann, with whom he sometimes collaborated by correspondence. Later Cowling studied sunspots and developed much of the theory of magnetic fields in stars and magnetospheres, including the Sun-Earth connection. He wrote several influential books in applied mathematics.

Presentation of Bruce medal
Mercury 14, 40 (1985). See also Physics Today 38(6), 89 (1985).

Other awards
Royal Astronomical Society, Gold medal, 1956, presented by H. Jeffreys, MNRAS 116, 229 (1956).
Royal Society, Hughes Medal, 1990.

Some offices held
Royal Astronomical Society, President, 1965-67.

Biographical materials
Cowling, Thomas, “Astronomer by Accident,” Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 23, 1-18 (1985).
Dormy, Emmanuel & Virginia Trimble, Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (Springer, NY, 2007), pp. 260-61.
Mestel, L., Biographical Memoirs of the Royal Society of London, 37, 103-25 (1991).
Mestel, L., “Cowling’s Life and Work,” Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics 62, 3-14 (1991).

Tayler, R.J., QJRAS 32, 201-05 (1991).

Named after him
Minor Planet #12139 Tomcowling

More references

The Bruce Medalists

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