Curtis, Heber Doust
BornMuskegon, Michigan, USA, 27 June 1872
DiedAnn Arbor, Michigan, USA, 9 January 1942
A man of many talents – classicist, linguist, and astronomer – Heber Curtis displayed a keen eye for recognizing the most pressing astronomical problems of his era. After being surpassed on several fronts, Curtis shifted from notable observer to capable administrator, where he continued to guide the research of others. His name appears most often now in connection with the 1920 Curtis-Shapley debate on the distance scale of the universe.
Curtis, elder son of Orson Blair Curtis and Sarah Eliza Doust, moved with his family to Detroit when he was 7. Curtis’s father, a Civil War veteran, had been wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg but survived the amputation of his left arm. Orson Curtis nonetheless completed his education at the University of Michigan and later secured a position with the United States Customs Service in Detroit. Curtis’s mother, a native of Maidstone, England, was educated at Albion ...
- Aitken, Robert G. (1943). “Biographical Memoir of Heber Doust Curtis.” Biographical Memoirs, National Academy of Sciences 22: 275−294.
- Crowe, Michael J. (1994). Modern Theories of the Universe from Herschel to Hubble. New York: Dover, esp. pp. 233–243, 269–327.
- Hoskin, Michael A. (1971). “Curtis, Heber Doust.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie. Vol. 3, pp. 508–509. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
- — (1976). “The ‘Great Debate’: What Really Happened.” Journal for the History of Astronomy 7: 169–182.
- Osterbrock, Donald E. (2001). “Astronomer for All Seasons: Heber D. Curtis.” Mercury 30, no. 3: 24–31.
- Smith, Robert W. (1982). The Expanding Universe: Astronomy’s ‘Great Debate’, 1900–1931. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, esp. pp. 28–31, 42–45, 77–90.
- Trimble, Virginia (1995). “The 1920 Shapley-Curtis Discussion: Background, Issues, and Aftermath.” Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 107: 1133–1144.
- Curtis, Heber Doust
- Reference Work Title
- Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers
- pp 488-492
- Print ISBN
- Online ISBN
- Springer New York
- Copyright Holder
- Springer Science+Business Media New York
- Additional Links
- eBook Packages
- Editor Affiliations
- 1. Department of Earth Science, University of Northern Iowa
- 2. University of California, Irvine School of Physical Sciences
- 3. Rice University
- 4. Whitman College
- 5. York Univesity
- 6. University of Wisconsin
- 7. University of Oklahoma
- 8. Harvard University
- Author Affiliations
- 3110. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
- 3111. University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA
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