William Alfred Fowler

William Alfred Fowler

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William Alfred "Willy" Fowler (August 9, 1911 – March 14, 1995) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 astrophysicist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983. He should not be confused with the British astronomer Alfred Fowler
Alfred Fowler
Alfred Fowler, FRS was an English astronomer. Not to be confused with American astrophysicist William Alfred Fowler....

.

Born in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, Fowler moved with his family to Lima
Lima, Ohio
Lima is a city in and the county seat of Allen County, Ohio, United States. The municipality is located in northwestern Ohio along Interstate 75 approximately north of Dayton and south-southwest of Toledo....

, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 at the age of two. He graduated from the Ohio State University
Ohio State University
The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and is currently the third largest university campus in the United States...

, where he was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and went on to receive a Ph.D. in nuclear physics
Nuclear physics
Nuclear physics is the field of physics that studies the building blocks and interactions of atomic nuclei. The most commonly known applications of nuclear physics are nuclear power generation and nuclear weapons technology, but the research has provided application in many fields, including those...

 at the California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

. His seminal paper Synthesis of the Elements in Stars
B²FH
The B2FH paper, named after the initials of Margaret Burbidge, Geoffrey Burbidge, William Fowler and Fred Hoyle, is a landmark paper of stellar physics published in Reviews of Modern Physics in 1957...

 (Reviews of Modern Physics, vol. 29, Issue 4, pp. 547–650), coauthored with E. Margaret Burbidge, Geoffrey Burbidge
Geoffrey Burbidge
Geoffrey Ronald Burbidge FRS was an English astronomy professor, most recently at the University of California, San Diego. He was married to astrophysicist Dr. Margaret Burbidge.-Education:...

, and Fred Hoyle
Fred Hoyle
Sir Fred Hoyle FRS was an English astronomer and mathematician noted primarily for his contribution to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis and his often controversial stance on other cosmological and scientific matters—in particular his rejection of the "Big Bang" theory, a term originally...

, was published in 1957. The paper explained how the abundances of essentially all but the lightest chemical element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...

s could be explained by the process of nucleosynthesis
Nucleosynthesis
Nucleosynthesis is the process of creating new atomic nuclei from pre-existing nucleons . It is thought that the primordial nucleons themselves were formed from the quark–gluon plasma from the Big Bang as it cooled below two trillion degrees...

 in stars. It is widely known as B²FH
B²FH
The B2FH paper, named after the initials of Margaret Burbidge, Geoffrey Burbidge, William Fowler and Fred Hoyle, is a landmark paper of stellar physics published in Reviews of Modern Physics in 1957...

.

Fowler succeeded Charles Lauritsen
Charles Christian Lauritsen
Charles Christian Lauritsen was a Danish-born, American physicist.-Early life and career:Lauritsen was born in Holstebro, Denmark and studied architecture at the Odense Tekniske Skole, graduating in 1911...

 as director of the Kellogg Radiation Laboratory at Caltech
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

, and was himself later succeeded by Steven E. Koonin
Steven E. Koonin
Steven E. Koonin was the Under Secretary of Energy for Science at the United States Department of Energy. He left that post in November 2011 for a position at the Institute for Defense Analyses. He was previously Chief Scientist for BP plc, where he was responsible for guiding the company’s...

.

Fowler won the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship
Henry Norris Russell Lectureship
The Henry Norris Russell Lectureship is awarded each year by the American Astronomical Society in recognition of a lifetime of excellence in astronomical research.-Previous lecturers:This list of lecturers is from the American Astronomical Society's website....

 of the American Astronomical Society
American Astronomical Society
The American Astronomical Society is an American society of professional astronomers and other interested individuals, headquartered in Washington, DC...

 in 1963, the Vetlesen Prize
Vetlesen Prize
The Vetlesen Prize is awarded from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation.-Background:The Vetlesen Prize has been described as an attempt to establish an equivalent of a Nobel award for geophysics or geology...

 in 1973, the Eddington Medal
Eddington Medal
The Eddington Medal, named after Sir Arthur Eddington, is awarded by the Royal Astronomical Society nominally once every two years for investigations of outstanding merit in theoretical astrophysics.- Recipients :* 1953 Georges Lemaître...

 in 1978, the Bruce Medal
Bruce Medal
The Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal is awarded every year by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for outstanding lifetime contributions to astronomy. It is named after Catherine Wolfe Bruce, an American patroness of astronomy, and was first awarded in 1898...

 of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Astronomical Society of the Pacific
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is a scientific and educational organization, founded in San Francisco on February 7, 1889. Its name derives from its origins on the Pacific Coast, but today it has members all over the country and the world...

 in 1979, and the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983 for his theoretical and experimental studies of the nuclear reaction
Nuclear reaction
In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, a nuclear reaction is semantically considered to be the process in which two nuclei, or else a nucleus of an atom and a subatomic particle from outside the atom, collide to produce products different from the initial particles...

s of importance in the formation of the chemical elements in the universe (shared with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, FRS ) was an Indian origin American astrophysicist who, with William A. Fowler, won the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics for key discoveries that led to the currently accepted theory on the later evolutionary stages of massive stars...

). A lifelong fan of steam locomotives
Steam locomotive
A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning some combustible material, usually coal, wood or oil, to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine...

, he owned several working models of various sizes. He died in Pasadena
Pasadena, California
Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena is the home to many scientific and cultural institutions, including the California Institute of Technology , the Jet...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

.

Publications

  • Burbidge, G., Burbidge, E. M., Fowler, W. A., and Hoyle, F., "Synthesis of the Elements in Stars," Reviews of Modern Physics, 29(4), 547-650, 1957.
  • Fowler, W. A., "Temperature and Density Conditions for Nucleogenesis by Fusion Processes in Stars", W. K. Kellogg Radiation Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology
    California Institute of Technology
    The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

    , United States Department of Energy
    United States Department of Energy
    The United States Department of Energy is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material...

     (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission
    United States Atomic Energy Commission
    The United States Atomic Energy Commission was an agency of the United States government established after World War II by Congress to foster and control the peace time development of atomic science and technology. President Harry S...

    , (June 1958).
  • Seeger, P. A.& W. A. Fowler. "Integrated Flux Distributions in Neutron Capture in Stars", Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Los Alamos National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory, managed and operated by Los Alamos National Security , located in Los Alamos, New Mexico...

     (through predecessor the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory), California Institute of Technology
    California Institute of Technology
    The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

    , United States Department of Energy
    United States Department of Energy
    The United States Department of Energy is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material...

     (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission
    United States Atomic Energy Commission
    The United States Atomic Energy Commission was an agency of the United States government established after World War II by Congress to foster and control the peace time development of atomic science and technology. President Harry S...

    ), (September 23, 1965).
  • Colgate, S. A., Audouze, J. & W. A. Fowler. "Helium (3) Rich Solar Flares", Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Los Alamos National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory, managed and operated by Los Alamos National Security , located in Los Alamos, New Mexico...

     (through predecessor the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory), United States Department of Energy
    United States Department of Energy
    The United States Department of Energy is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material...

     (through predecessor agency the Energy Research and Development Administration
    Energy Research and Development Administration
    The United States Energy Research and Development Administration was a United States government organization formed from the split of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1975...

    ), (May 3, 1977).

External links


Obituaries