Sir Issac Newton
Arthur Stanley Eddington was born in Kendal, England in December of 1882. His father died before his second birthday and his family moved to Weston-super-Mare. It was here that Arthur began to attend school.
In 1898 he was awarded a scholarship of 60 pounds per year for three years by Somerset County. Eddington used this to help cover the cost of attending Owens College, in Manchester from 1898 to 1902. There he began to study physics and mathematics, while under the tutelage and influence of his mathematics professor, Horace Lamb.
While at Owens College he was awarded a 100 pound per year mathematics scholarship to study at Cambridge. At Cambridge he was taught by several great professors. He also won the Smith's prize, became Senior Wrangler in 1904, and was awarded a Trinity College fellowship in 1907. In 1913 he was appointed to the Plumian Professorship of Astronomy and by 1914 he became director of the Cambridge Observatory. That same year he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.
As Eddington came from a Quaker tradition he avoided active war service and was able to continue his research at Cambridge during the war years of 1914-1918.
During this time Eddington made important contributions to the theory of general relativity. He received praise for this work from such great scientific minds as Einstein. He was knighted in 1930.
Connection to Sun Research
Eddington also led eclipse expeditions to Brazil and Principe Island in West Africa. The results from the Africa expedition provided the first confirmation of Einstein's theory that gravity will bend the path of light when it passes near a massive star. In addition to his work in relativity Eddington also did important work on the internal structure of stars. He discovered the mass-luminosity relationship for stars, he calculated the abundance of hydrogen and he produced a theory to explain the pulsation of Cepheid variable stars. His early work on this is contained in the important work, The Internal Constitution of Stars (1926). Among his many books were philosophical books such as, The Nature of the Physical World (1928), New Pathways of Science (1935) and, The Philosophy of Physical Science (1939). Eddington's rather unusual view of the importance of the history of a subject comes across in these works. He believed that familiarity with the history of a subject was a hindrance to creative research in that subject. Eddington had a fascination with the fundamental constants of nature and produced some surprising numerical coincidences. These were published after his death under the title, Fundamental Theory (1946). He died November 22, 1944 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.
©Copyright 1998 Elizabeth
Beckett, Holly Bernitt, and Vishwa Chandra.