Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 128-129


Babcock, Harold Delos

BornEdgerton, Wisconsin, USA, 24 January 1882

DiedPasadena, California, USA, 8 April 1965

American laboratory and stellar spectroscopist Harold D. Babcock produced very high-quality ruled gratings for spectrometers and used them (in collaboration with his son, Horace Babcock) to map out the magnetic fields of the Sun and stars with great precision. Babcock was the son of the owner of a general store and received his early education in the public schools of Wisconsin. He completed an additional 4 years of secondary school in Los Angeles after the family moved there in 1896, acquiring a good grounding in science, languages, and the arts. It was during this time that he also began private experimental work, particularly radio, and developed a fascination that led to his enrolling in electrical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley in 1901. Babcock quickly decided, however, that his principal interests lay in physics – especially spectroscopy – and he obtained a BS degree ( ...

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