Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Cowling, Thomas George

Reference work entry

BornWalthamstow, London, England, 17 June 1906

DiedLeeds, England, 16 June 1990

English mathematician and theoretical astrophysicist Thomas Cowling gave his name to a model of stellar structure in which all of the energy is released very close to the center and to a theorem relevant to the generation and structure of the magnetic fields of the Earth and Sun. However, the part of his work that has the strongest resonance down to the present is the classification of vibrational modes in the Sun or other stars into p (where pressure is the restoring force) and g (where gravity is the restoring force) modes, separated by a fundamental radial oscillation, all of which have now been seen and which provide vital information on the deep interiors of the Sun and other stars.

Cowling was the second of four sons of Edith and George Cowling, an engineer with the post office, who brought home a large horseshoe magnet that may well have contributed to his son’s lifelong interest in magnetism. The...

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Selected References

  1. Backus, George, Robert Parker, and Catherine Constable (1996). Foundations of Geomagnetism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Cowling T. G. (1985). “Astronomer by Accident.” Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 23: 1–18.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Jeffreys, Sir Harold (1956). “The President’s Address on the Award of the Gold Medal to Professor George Cowling.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 116: 229–230.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Tayler, R. J. (1991). “T. G. Cowling (1906–1990).” Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 32: 201–205.ADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California, Irvine School of Physical SciencesIrvineUSA
  2. 2.CNRS, Ecole Normale SupérieureParisFrance