Carlyle Smith Beals was born in 1899 at Canso, Nova Scotia. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1919 from Acadia University in Wolfville, and he enrolled in doctoral studies in 1921 at Yale University in the United States, but his failing health prevented him from pursuing this goal.

He enrolled instead at the University of Toronto and obtained his Master’s degree in 1923. He then taught for one year at a school, and enrolled in the University of London, England, in 1922. Four years later he obtained his doctoral degree in physics.

Beals then returned to the University of Acadia where he was hired as assistant professor in physics. He only stayed for one year before accepting a job in 1927 at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, British Columbia. He stayed at the observatory considerably longer: 20 years, in fact.

Shortly after his arrival, he began to perfect or invent new instruments for the observatory’s telescope. He established a reliable temperature scale for very hot stars and was the first to demonstrate that their emission spectra are proof that they are surrounded by large gaseous envelopes. He wrote a th Read More
Carlyle Smith Beals was born in 1899 at Canso, Nova Scotia. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1919 from Acadia University in Wolfville, and he enrolled in doctoral studies in 1921 at Yale University in the United States, but his failing health prevented him from pursuing this goal.

He enrolled instead at the University of Toronto and obtained his Master’s degree in 1923. He then taught for one year at a school, and enrolled in the University of London, England, in 1922. Four years later he obtained his doctoral degree in physics.

Beals then returned to the University of Acadia where he was hired as assistant professor in physics. He only stayed for one year before accepting a job in 1927 at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, British Columbia. He stayed at the observatory considerably longer: 20 years, in fact.

Shortly after his arrival, he began to perfect or invent new instruments for the observatory’s telescope. He established a reliable temperature scale for very hot stars and was the first to demonstrate that their emission spectra are proof that they are surrounded by large gaseous envelopes. He wrote a thesis on the subject and received a second doctoral degree from the University of London in 1934.

Beals also discovered that the wide emission lines from Wolf-Rayet and P Cygni-type stars are the result of gaseous material ejecting from their surfaces. He was also the first to recognize that the gas in interstellar space is not uniformly distributed and that it is locally concentrated into clouds that move at high speeds.

The Beals lunar crater,In 1940, he became Adjoint Director of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory of Victoria. He left his post in 1946 for the Dominion Observatory in Ottawa, and became the Director the following year, at which time he immediately embarked on an ambitious campaign to revive the institution.

Beals attracted many young researchers to Ottawa, improved the institution’s seismological, gravimetric, magnetic and solar facilities, modernized its official time distribution service, installed new telescopes in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, installed cameras to observe meteors in Alberta, and established the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Penticton, British Columbia.

In 1956, he began publishing geophysical studies on terrestrial and lunar impact craters, and in so doing demonstrated that meteorite bombardment played a major role in the formation of the planets, including Earth.

Beals retired in 1964 and died in 1979 in Ottawa at the age of 80. He received many awards for his work in astronomy, geophysics and administration, including the Order of Canada. Asteroid 3314 and a lunar crater were named in his honour. In 1981, the Astronomical Society of Canada created the Carlyle S. Beals Award, given every two years to a Canadian astronomer, or an astronomer working in Canada, in recognition of their outstanding achievement in research.

© 2006 An original idea and a realization of the ASTROLab of Mont-Mégantic National Park

Black and white photo of Carlyle Smith Beals

Carlyle Smith Beals (1899-1979).

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

© Royal Astronomical Society of Canada


Photo of the Beals lunar crater in black and white

The Beals lunar crater, 48 kilometres in diameter.

NASA

© NASA


Gerhard Herzberg was born in 1904 at Hamburg, Germany. During the early 1920’s, he decided to follow a career in astronomy but was quickly dissuaded by the scarcity of jobs in the field. He enrolled at the Darmstadt Institute of Technology in 1924 where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1927 and a doctoral degree in physical engineering in 1928.

Specializing in atomic and molecular physics, he completed his first postdoctoral position at the University of Göttingen in 1928 and a second postdoctoral assignment at the University of Bristol in 1929. In 1930, he was hired as a lecturer and assistant to the head of the physics department at the Darmstadt Institute of Technology. He built a large spectroscopic laboratory and supervised the research of several students and guest researchers.

In 1935, Herzberg left Nazi Germany. The German authorities would only allow him to leave with about $2.50, and he sought refuge in Canada where he was offered a guest professorship at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Three months later, he became professor in the physics department, a position he occupied for the next six years.

His work focu Read More
Gerhard Herzberg was born in 1904 at Hamburg, Germany. During the early 1920’s, he decided to follow a career in astronomy but was quickly dissuaded by the scarcity of jobs in the field. He enrolled at the Darmstadt Institute of Technology in 1924 where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1927 and a doctoral degree in physical engineering in 1928.

Specializing in atomic and molecular physics, he completed his first postdoctoral position at the University of Göttingen in 1928 and a second postdoctoral assignment at the University of Bristol in 1929. In 1930, he was hired as a lecturer and assistant to the head of the physics department at the Darmstadt Institute of Technology. He built a large spectroscopic laboratory and supervised the research of several students and guest researchers.

In 1935, Herzberg left Nazi Germany. The German authorities would only allow him to leave with about $2.50, and he sought refuge in Canada where he was offered a guest professorship at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Three months later, he became professor in the physics department, a position he occupied for the next six years.

His work focused mainly on molecular spectroscopy; that is, on the analysis of molecular structure. More specifically, Herzberg concentrated on the detection and the nature of free radicals. Free radicals are intermediary molecules in chemical reactions that only exist for several millionths of a second in the laboratory, but much longer in space.

One of his first accomplishments at Saskatoon was to identify the CH+ molecule in interstellar clouds (clouds of gas found between stars). At the time, only two other molecules had been identified in such an environment.

In addition to the numerous scientific articles that he wrote, he also published three books (1936, 1939 and 1945) that quickly became classics in atomic and molecular spectroscopy.

Gerhard Herzberg in his officeIn 1945, the Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago offered Herzberg a position as professor of spectroscopy at their extensive state-of-the-art facilities. He studied comets and planetary atmospheres by perfecting methods that would go on to become standard techniques used around the world.

In 1948, he returned to Canada and was named Principal Research Officer at the National Research Council, and Director of the Division of Physics shortly afterwards. He soon began to assemble a group of talented spectroscopists with specialities in various portions of the electromagnetic spectrum (microwaves, infrared, visible light and ultraviolet light), and created research teams in the fields of theoretical and solid state physics.

Herzberg continued to add to his major scientific discoveries: he was the first to detect the hydrogen molecule in planetary atmospheres, the first to uncover the presence of water in comets, and the first to identify dozens of free radicals (including methylene CH2 and methyl CH3) in the laboratory and interstellar clouds. He also established the National Research Council of Canada as a world leader in molecular spectroscopy.

In 1966, 1971 and 1979, he published three other books that each became a classic in molecular spectroscopy. In 1969, the National Research Council of Canada created the post of Distinguished Research Scientist for him, which he occupied until his retirement. In 1974, the Council combined its astronomy and spectroscopy units and created the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, where he worked until his retirement in 1995.

Herzberg died in Ottawa in 1999 at 94 years old. He had received numerous distinctions, including the 1971 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Asteroid 3316 was named in his honour. In 2004, the National Research Council of Canada created its highest honour, the Herzberg Medal, to bestow upon a scientist whose research contributions are characterized by both excellence and influence.

© 2006 An original idea and a realization of the ASTROLab of Mont-Mégantic National Park

Black and white photo of Gerhard Herzberg

Gerhard Herzberg (1904-1999).

Physics in Canada, Volume 55, No. 4 (1999)

© Physics in Canada, Volume 55, No. 4 (1999)


Black and white photo of Gerhard Herzberg at a desk

Gerhard Herzberg at work in Ottawa.

National Research Council of Canada

© National Research Council of Canada


Helen Sawyer was born in 1905 at Lowell, Massachusetts. In 1922, she enrolled at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, and obtained her bachelor’s degree in 1926. She then received her master’s degree in 1928 and her doctoral degree in 1931, both from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her research topic was the study of variable starts in globular clusters, and she would work on this type of star for the rest of her life.

In 1930, she married Frank Hogg, a young Canadian and fellow astronomy student. In 1931, they moved to Canada where Frank accepted a post at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, British Columbia. Unfortunately, the depression had hit and Helen was unable to find work. She nonetheless obtained permission to use the observatory’s telescope and was able to pursue her study of globular masses on a volunteer basis.

In 1935, Helen and Frank relocated to Ontario where Frank took a professorship with the astronomy department at the University of Toronto. Helen pursued her observations of globular clusters at the David Dunlap Observatory, and she was hired as a research officer in the astr Read More
Helen Sawyer was born in 1905 at Lowell, Massachusetts. In 1922, she enrolled at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, and obtained her bachelor’s degree in 1926. She then received her master’s degree in 1928 and her doctoral degree in 1931, both from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her research topic was the study of variable starts in globular clusters, and she would work on this type of star for the rest of her life.

In 1930, she married Frank Hogg, a young Canadian and fellow astronomy student. In 1931, they moved to Canada where Frank accepted a post at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, British Columbia. Unfortunately, the depression had hit and Helen was unable to find work. She nonetheless obtained permission to use the observatory’s telescope and was able to pursue her study of globular masses on a volunteer basis.

In 1935, Helen and Frank relocated to Ontario where Frank took a professorship with the astronomy department at the University of Toronto. Helen pursued her observations of globular clusters at the David Dunlap Observatory, and she was hired as a research officer in the astronomy department in 1936.

In 1939, she published the first edition of the Catalogue of Variable Stars in Globular Clusters (two other editions were published in 1955 and 1973). Two years later, in 1941, she started teaching at the astronomy department of the University of Toronto.

In 1946, Helen’s husband Frank became Director of the David Dunlap Observatory, a position he would occupy until his death in 1951. When Frank passed away, Helen found solace by writing a weekly column for the Toronto Star titled With the Stars, a task she would continue for the next thirty years and for which she is well remembered.

The Helen Sawyer Hogg telescopeIn 1957, Hogg became adjunct full professor in the astronomy department of the University of Toronto. She continued her work on variable stars, which numbered more than 2,000 by the end of her career. The parameters she measured during her research provided a basis for estimating the age of our galaxy and for improving our understanding of its evolution.

In 1970, Hogg hosted her own television show on astronomy. In 1971, she founded the Astronomical Society of Canada and became its first president. She retired in 1976, was named Professor Emeritus, and wrote a popular guide to astronomy titled The Stars Belong to Everyone.

Helen Sawyer Hogg died in Toronto at the age of 92. She had received numerous distinctions for her work in astronomy and for her efforts to popularize the science, including the Order of Canada. Asteroid 2917 was named in her honour.

In 1985, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Astronomical Society of Canada created the Helen Sawyer Hogg Public Lecture. The lecture, given each year by an invited speaker during the annual meeting of the two societies, commemorates her contributions to public appreciation of the universe. The Canadian National Museum of Science and Technology’s observatory in Ottawa is named for her.

© 2006 An original idea and a realization of the ASTROLab of Mont-Mégantic National Park

Black and white photo of Helen Sawyer Hogg

Helen Sawyer Hogg (1905-1993).

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

© Royal Astronomical Society of Canada


Colour photo of the The Helen Sawyer Hogg Telescope

The Helen Sawyer Hogg telescope at Las Campanas, Chile.

Eduardo Fernández Lajús/Casleo, Argentine

© Eduardo Fernández Lajús/Casleo, Argentine


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • identify recent contributions, including Canada’s, to the development of space exploration technologies;
  • describe in detail the function of Canadian technologies involved in exploration of space;
  • draw a solar system with all its components;
  • establish the link between atoms and light using different instruments.

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