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

  • David JefferiesEmail author
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.zbMATHGoogle 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.zbMATHCrossRefGoogle 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