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Pol Swings

Pol Swings

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Pol F. Swings was a Belgian astrophysicist
Astrophysics
Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe, including the physical properties of celestial objects, as well as their interactions and behavior...

 who was known for his studies of the composition and structure of stars and comets. He used spectroscopy
Spectroscopy
Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction between matter and radiated energy. Historically, spectroscopy originated through the study of visible light dispersed according to its wavelength, e.g., by a prism. Later the concept was expanded greatly to comprise any interaction with radiative...

 to identify the elements in astronomical bodies, and, in particular, comets. Swings studied at the University of Liège
University of Liège
The University of Liège , in Liège, Wallonia, Belgium, is a major public university in the French Community of Belgium. Its official language is French.-History:...

, where he was professor of spectroscopy and astrophysics from 1932 to 1975. He was also a visiting professor at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 (1939–43, 1946–52).

From his study of cometary atmospheres, he is credited with the discovery of the Swings bands and the Swings effect. Swings bands are emission line
Spectral line
A spectral line is a dark or bright line in an otherwise uniform and continuous spectrum, resulting from a deficiency or excess of photons in a narrow frequency range, compared with the nearby frequencies.- Types of line spectra :...

s resulting from the presence of certain atoms of carbon; the Swings effect was discovered with the aid of a slit spectrograph and is attributed to fluorescence
Fluorescence
Fluorescence is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation of a different wavelength. It is a form of luminescence. In most cases, emitted light has a longer wavelength, and therefore lower energy, than the absorbed radiation...

 resulting partly from solar radiation.

Moreover, Swings studied spectroscopy
Spectroscopy
Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction between matter and radiated energy. Historically, spectroscopy originated through the study of visible light dispersed according to its wavelength, e.g., by a prism. Later the concept was expanded greatly to comprise any interaction with radiative...

 of interstellar space and investigated the rotation of stars, as well as nebulae, novae, and variable stars. Pol Swings was awarded the Francqui Prize
Francqui Prize
The Francqui Prize is a prestigious Belgian scholarly and scientific prize, awarded each year since 1933 by the Francqui Foundation in recognition of the achievements of a young Belgian scholar or scientist...

 for Exact Sciences in 1948.

1637 Swings
1637 Swings
1637 Swings is a main-belt asteroid discovered on August 28, 1936 by J. Hunaerts at Uccle.It is named after Pol Swings, a Belgian astronomer.- External links :*...

, an asteroid
Asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

 of the Main belt is named after him.