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

Alvarez, Luis Walter

Reference work entry

BornSan Francisco, California, USA, 13 June 1911

DiedBerkeley, California, USA, 1 September 1988

American particle experimentalist Luis Alvarez is best known in the field of astronomy for work with his son, geophysicist Walter Alvarez that led to the idea that the wave of extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous Period, including the demise of the dinosaurs, was the result of an asteroid or comet impact. This was signified by an iridium-rich layer found at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in a well-known deposit sequence at Gubbio, Italy.

Luis Alvarez was the son of physician Walter Alvarez, who continued to write down-to-earth columns of medical advice for the Los Angeles Times well into his 1990s. The name had come directly from Spain a generation earlier.

Luis received his B.S. (1932) and Ph.D. (1936) from the University of Chicago, the latter for work in optics, and retained a lifelong research interest in ophthalmic optics. However, he simultaneously pursued, under the guidance of

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Selected References

  1. Daintith, John, Sarah Mitchell and Elizabeth Tootill (eds.) (1981). “Alvarez, Luis Walter.” In A Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists. Vol. 1, pp. 14–15. New York: Facts on File.Google Scholar
  2. Goldhaber, Gerson and Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky (1989). “Luis W. Alvarez.” Physics Today 42, no. 6: 100–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mining, Metallurgical, and Materials EngineeringLaval UniversityQCCanada