Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 150-151


Baldwin, Ralph Belknap


BornGrand Rapids, Michigan, USA, 6 June 1912

DiedNaples, Florida, USA, 23 October 2010

Astronomer and businessman Ralph Baldwin received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in astronomy and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Michigan, where he was a student of Heber Curtis and Dean McLaughlin. After completing his doctoral dissertation in 1937, on the spectroscopic study of novae, Baldwin taught at the University of Pennsylvania (1937–1938) and Northwestern University (1938–1942) while continuing work on the development of physical models of novae and unusual binary stars. In 1942, Baldwin accepted an appointment as a senior physicist at the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, where, in a wartime group led by the geophysicist Merle Tuve, he helped to develop the radio proximity fuze.

In 1947, Baldwin returned home to Grand Rapids to help run the family business, Oliver Machinery Company. Between then and his retirement in 1984, he rose from product manager to ch ...

This is an excerpt from the content