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Sir Arthur Eddington, O.M., F.R.S

Nature volume 141, page 1089 (18 June 1938) | Download Citation



THE appointment of Sir Arthur Eddington by His Majesty the King to the Order of Merit will be warmly acclaimed by scientific workers in every corner of the globe as a fitting reward for a series of remarkable achievements in the realms of astronomy and theoretical physics. Senior wrangler and fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, Eddington entered the scientific world, as chief assistant at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, at the beginning of a new epoch in. astronomy; Kapteyn had made his discovery of star-streaming in 1904 and within a few months Eddington contributed his first important investigation on this subject, to be followed in 1910 by his classic treatment of the proper motions of the naked-eye stars. In 1913, Eddington succeeded Sir George Darwin in the Plumian chair of astronomy at Cambridge, dnd in 1914 he was appointed director of the Cambridge Observatory in succession to Sir Robert Ball. Between 1913 and 1915, Eddington published several outstanding papers on the dynamics of stellar systems, which are still unsurpassed as models of mathematical elegance and astronomical insight. Relativity and the internal constitution of the stars next, and almost simultaneously, claimed his attention. In the former subject he is recognized, next to Einstein himself, as the foremost authority and investigator. The latter subject is of his own creation and has attracted many of the most eminent astronomers to a fruitful field of research. Within recent years, Eddington's researches have been devoted to the theory of the expansion of the universe and to the interrelation of quantum mechanics and relativity. Eddington's scientific influence is worldwide; his mathematical books are standard works ; his popular books have brought delight and understanding to innumerable readers, scientific workers and laymen alike, and have influenced in a remarkable way the currents of recent philosophical thought.

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