The Bruce Medalists


  Photo courtesy Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Charlotte Emma Moore Sitterly
24 September 1898 1990 Bruce Medalist 3 March 1990

Upon completing her B.A. in mathematics at Swarthmore College in 1920 Charlotte Moore took a job as assistant to Henry Norris Russell at Princeton University. There she audited courses and became coauthor of papers on binary stars and an influential book on the masses of stars. In the late 1920s she worked at the Mt. Wilson Observatory with Charles E. St. John and Harold D. Babcock on the solar spectrum. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley using Mt. Wilson plates to analyze atomic lines in the sunspot spectrum. From 1945 until the end of her life she worked on spectra at the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) and the Naval Research Laboratory. She compiled, organized, and analyzed laboratory data and published definitive books on the solar spectrum and spectral line multiplets. These books became the essential resource for spectroscopists. In her later years she extended the tables into the ultraviolet with data from rocket-borne instruments and laboratory work.

Presentation of Bruce medal
Morrison, Nancy & Andrew Fraknoi, Mercury 19, 179 (1990).

Other awards
American Astronomical Society, Annie Jump Cannon Award, 1937.
Optical Society of America, William F. Meggers Award, 1972.

Biographical materials
Encyclopedia of World Biography
Kessler, Karl G., “Dr. Charlotte Moore Sitterly and the National Bureau of Standards,” J. Opt. Soc. America B 5, 2043-44 (1988).
Rubin, Vera C., “Charlotte Moore Sitterly,” Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage 13, 145-48 (2010).
Shore, Steven N., Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (Springer, NY, 2007), pp. 802-04.
Slight-Gibney, Nancy in Shearer, Benjamin F. & Barbara S., eds. Notable Women in the Physical Sciences: a Biographical Dictionary (Greenwood Press, Westport, CT & London, 1997), pp. 375-80.
Wilson, Philip K., in McMurray, Emily J., ed., Notable Twentieth-century Scientists (Gale Research, NY, 1995), pp. 1410-11.

Garton, W.P.S. & W.C. Martin, QJRAS 32, 209-10 (1991).
Martin, W.C., Physics Today 44, 4, 128-30 (1991).
Roman, Nancy G., Bull. Am. Astron. Soc. 23, 1492-94 (1991).
Standards Alumni Assoc. Newsletter 90, (2), 6-8 (1990).
Sullivan, Walter, New York Times, 8 Mar 1990, p. D25.
Washington Post, 9 Mar 1990, p. C6.

AIP Center for History of Physics (4 photos)

Named after her
Minor planet #2110 Moore-Sitterly

More references

The Bruce Medalists

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