The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2007 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, F. Jamil Ragep, JoAnn Palmeri, Marvin Bolt

Nicholson, Seth Barnes

Reference work entry

BornSpringfield, Illinois, USA, 12 November 1891

DiedLos Angeles County, California, USA, 2 July 1963

American observational astronomer Seth Nicholson is probably best known for the discoveries of four satellites of Jupiter, numbers 9–12, but his most significant contribution may have been the discovery, with Charles St. Johnthat the atmosphere of Venus contains at most a vanishingly small amount of water and molecular oxygen. Nicholson was the son of a schoolteacher and principal with a master's degree in geology from Cornell University. He received a BS from Drake University in 1912 (and an honorary LLD in 1949). He and Drake University classmate Alma Stotts went on to the University of California (Berkeley) and Lick Observatory for graduate work in astronomy and married in 1913, having three children. Nicholson was very prompt in completing the traditional Lick Observatory requirement to determine the orbit of a comet accurately enough for publication with a paper on the...

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Selected References

  1. Anon. “Obituary”. (3 July 1963). Los Angeles Times, pt. 2, pp. 1–2.Google Scholar
  2. Anon. (1963). “Seth B. Nicholson.” Physics Today 16, no. 9: 106.Google Scholar
  3. Anon. (1963). “Seth B. Nicholson Dies.” Sky &Telescope 26, no. 2: 63.Google Scholar
  4. Hale, George E. and Seth B. Nicholson (1925). “The Law of Sun‐Spot Polarity.” Astrophysical Journal 62: 270–300.ADSGoogle Scholar
  5. Hale, George H., Frederick Ellerman, S. B. Nicholson, and A. H. Joy (1919). “The Magnetic Polarity of Sun‐Spots.” Astrophysical Journal 49: 153–178.ADSGoogle Scholar
  6. Herget, Paul (1971). “Seth Barnes Nicholson.” Biographical Memoirs, National Academy of Sciences 42: 201–227.Google Scholar
  7. Hetherington, Norriss S. (1990). The Edwin Hubble Papers: Previously Unpublished Manuscripts on the Extragalactic Nature of Spiral Nebulae. Tucson: Pachart. (For Nicholson's role in the controversy over the purported rotation of spiral nebulae.)Google Scholar
  8. Petrie, R. M. (1963). “Award of the Bruce Gold Medal to Seth B. Nicholson.” Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 75: 305–307.ADSGoogle Scholar
  9. Pettit, Edison and Seth B. Nicolson (1922). “The Application of Vacuum Thermocouples to Problems in Astrophysics.” Astrophysical Journal 56: 295–317.ADSGoogle Scholar
  10. ——— (1930). “Lunar Radiation and Temperatures.” Astrophysical Journal 71: 102–135.ADSGoogle Scholar
  11. ——— (1933). “Measurements of the Radiation from Variable Stars.” Astrophysical Journal 78: 320–353.ADSGoogle Scholar
  12. Sheehan, William (2001). “The Historic Hunt for Moons.” Mercury 30, no. 2: 23–27. (For an outline of the historical context of planetary satellite discoveries, including Nicholson's four Jovian moons.)Google Scholar
  13. Warner, Deborah Jean (1974). “Nicholson, Seth Barnes.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie. Vol. 10, p. 107. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

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