A Bit of History
George Ellery Hale, who subsequently built the Mt. Wilson observatory, providing our graduate Edwin Hubble with the tools to discover the expansion of the Universe. Hale also co-founded the Astrophysical Journal, which was edited until 1971 within our Department. Other luminaries who have had strong associations with our Department are E. E. Barnard, Otto Struve, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Gerard Kuiper, William Morgan, Bengt Stromgren and David Schramm among many others.
The astrophysics program at the University of Chicago began with the building of the Yerkes Observatory, in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, where the entire Department was located. By the mid-sixties it had become clear that ties to the intellectual community on campus needed to be strengthened, and there was a shift of the center of mass from Wisconsin to Chicago. All of the academic programs are now on campus.
Directors of Yerkes Observatory
George Ellery Hale
June 29, 1868 - February 21, 1938
Edwin Powell Hubble
November 20, 1889 - September 28, 1953
His studies at the University of Chicago were concentrated on mathematics, astronomy and philosophy, which led to a bachelor of science degree in 1910. Hubble also became a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity (and in 1948 was named the Kappa Sigma ''Man of the Year''). He spent the three years at The Queen's College, Oxford after earning his bachelors as one of the university's first Rhodes Scholars, initially studying jurisprudence instead of science (as a promise to his dying father), and later added literature and Spanish, and earning his master's degree.
He taught Spanish, physics, and mathematics at the New Albany High School in New Albany, Indiana for a year before he resolved to start over, at the age of 25, to become a professional astronomer. He also coached the boys' basketball team there. After a year of high-school teaching, he entered graduate school with the help of his former professor from the University of Chicago to study astronomy at the Yerkes Observatory of the University, where he received his PhD in 1917. His dissertation was titled Photographic Investigations of Faint Nebulae.
October 19, 1910 - August 21, 1995
Chandrasekhar served on the University of Chicago faculty from 1937 until his death in 1995.
October 25, 1945 - December 19, 1997
David Schramm was born in St. Louis, Missouri and earned his master's degree in physics from the MIT in 1967. He earned a Ph.D in physics at Caltech in 1971 under Willy Fowler. After a brief time as faculty at the University of Texas at Austin he accepted a professorship at the University of Chicago, where he spent the rest of his career.