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

Jeans, James Hopwood

Reference work entry

BornOrmskirk, Lancashire, England, 22 September 1877

DiedDorking, Surrey, England, 16 September 1946

British mathematician and astronomer James Jeans formulated two astrophysical concepts: the Jeans mass or Jeans length for deciding whether a given mass of gas will collapse under its own gravitational force and the Rayleigh-Jeans approximation to the long-wavelength part of blackbody radiation. For much of his life he supported the Chamberlin-Moulton or tidal encounter hypothesis for the formation of the Solar System and favored a very long timescale, perhaps 1012 years, for the Universe as a whole.

Jeans, whose mother was a Hopwood, was the son of William Tulloch Jeans, a parliamentary journalist. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1896. He tied for the second best score (second wrangler) in part I of the mathematics triposin 1898. Jeans took a first-class honors degree in Part II in 1900. He was awarded an Isaac Newton Studentship and the Smith’s Prize in 1900, the...

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Selected References

  1. Henry, Holly (2003). Virginia Wolf and the Discourse of Science: The Aesthetics of Astronomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Discussion of Jeans’s popularization of astronomy.)Google Scholar
  2. Jeans, Sir James (1928). Astronomy and Cosmogony. Cambridge: University Press.MATHGoogle Scholar
  3. — (1929). The Universe Around Us. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  4. — (1930). The Mysterious Universe. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  5. — (1933). The New Background of Science. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  6. — (1934). Through Space and Time. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  7. — (1938). Science and Music. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  8. — (1940). Introduction to the Kinetic Theory of Gasses. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  9. — (1943). Physics and Philosophy. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Milne, E. A. (1947). “Sir James Hopwood Jeans.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 107: 46–53.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Stratton, F. J. M. (1947). “James Hopwood Jeans.” Observatory 66: 392–394.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SurreyGuildfordUK