The Bruce Medalists


  Photo courtesy Hale Observatories
George Ellery Hale
29 June 1868 1916 Bruce Medalist 21 February 1938

George Hale began studying the solar spectrum as a wealthy teenager in Chicago. As an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology he invented the spectroheliograph. He worked in his private Kenwood observatory two years before joining the faculty of the University of Chicago, for which he built the Yerkes Observatory and its 40-inch refractor. To expand solar observations and promote astrophysical studies he founded Mt. Wilson Observatory, where he discovered that sunspots were regions of relatively low temperatures and high magnetic fields. He hired Harlow Shapley and Edwin Hubble as soon as they finished their doctorates, and he encouraged research in galactic and extragalactic astronomy as well as solar and stellar astrophysics. Due to ill health, Hale retired from the Mt. Wilson Observatory in 1923 and spent most of his remaining years on solar research at his private Hale Laboratory in Pasadena. Hale planned and raised funds for 60-, 100-, and 200-inch reflectors, the last completed on Palomar Mountain and named for him after his death. He played a major role in founding or rebuilding the American Astronomical Society, the Astrophysical Journal, the California Institute of Technology, the National Academy of Sciences and its Proceedings, the National Research Council, and the Huntington Library.

Presentation of Bruce medal
Aitken, R. G., PASP 28, 12-25 (1916).

Other awards
American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Rumford prize, 1902.
Franklin Institute, Elliot Cresson medal, 1926; Ben Franklin medal, 1927.
French Academy of Sciences, Janssen Medal, 1894.
National Academy of Sciences, Henry Draper Medal, 1904.
Optical Society of America, Frederic Ives Medal, 1935.
Royal Astronomical Society, Gold medal, 1904, presented by H.H. Turner, MNRAS 64, 388-401 (1904)
Royal Society, Copley Medal, 1932.

Biographical materials
Abetti, Giorgio, “Recollections of George Ellery Hale,” Leaflets of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 8, 287-94 (1961) [Leaflet #387].
Adams, W.S., Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Science 21, 181-241 (pdf).
Bitterman, Jay, Lake County Astronomical Society
Club Astronomique du Val de Loir [in French]
Florence, Ronald, Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (Springer, NY, 2007), pp. 461-63.
Glass, Ian, Revolutionaries of the Cosmos: The Astro-Physicists (Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, UK, 2005).
High Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Mt. Wilson Institute
Newall, H.F., Obituary Notices of the Royal Society of London 2, 523-29 (1936-38).
Seares, F.H., “George Ellery Hale: The Scientist Afield,” Isis 30, 264 (1939).
Sheehan, William and Donald E. Osterbrock, “Hale’s ‘Little Elf’: The Mental Breakdowns of George Ellery Hale,” Jour. Hist. Astron. 31, 2, 93-114 (2000).
Tenn, Joseph S., “George Ellery Hale: The Thirteenth Bruce Medalist,” Mercury  21, 3, 92 (1992).
Wright, Helen, Dictionary of Scientific Biography 6, 26-34.
Wright, Helen, Explorer of the Universe: A Biography of George Ellery Hale (Dutton, NY, 1966; American Institute of Physics, Woodbury, NY, 1994).
Wright, Helen, J. N. Warnow, & Charles Weiner, eds., The Legacy of George Ellery Hale: Evolution of Astronomy and Scientific Institutions in Pictures and Documents. (MIT Press, Cambridge, 1972).
Zirin, Harold, “George Ellery Hale, 1868-1938,” Solar Physics 5, 435-41 (1969).
More sources

Adams, W.S., Ap.J. 87, 369-88 (1938).
Babcock, Harold D., PASP 50, 156-65 (1938).
Dunham, Jr., Theodore, MNRAS 99, 322-28 (1939).
New York Times, 22 February 1938.
Newall, H.F., Obituary Notices of the Royal Society of London 2, 523-29 (1936-38).
More obituaries

AIP Center for History of Physics
Caltech Archives
Friedman, Jon R., Portrait Sketch
Hale Solar Observatory
The Mars Society, Toronto Chapter
Library of Congress: autographed drawing by Robert Kastor
University of Chicago

Named after him
Minor Planet 1024 Hale.
Lunar crater Hale.
Martian crater Hale.
The Hale solar sector boundary.
The Hale Telescope (aka the 200-inch or the 5-m).
George Ellery Hale Prize of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society.
The George Ellery Hale Elementary School

More references

The Bruce Medalists

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