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Prof. Carl Stomer

Nature volume 159, page 734 (31 May 1947) | Download Citation



ON May 20 the University of Oxford conferred the degree of D.Sc., honoris causa, upon Prof. Carl St0rmer, who later on the same day delivered the Halley Lecture on “Polar Aurora in Southern Norway”. The presentation speech by the Public Orator at the degree ceremony was in Latin elegiac verse, with a prose addendum which included the remark that Prof. Starmer richly deserved a gown equally worthy of the Goddess of Dawn and the Goddess of Learning. The verse described an imaginary interview between the Public Orator and the Goddess Aurora, who was visible (so it seemed) in the northern skies at night during the recent hard weather, and appeared to have deserted her usual haunts and her husband Tithonus. Aurora bade the Orator to improve his knowledge of celestial phenomena (and his opinion of her) by consulting the eminent Norwegian astrophysicist Prof. Stormer, whose pride it was to have mastered the nature of her counterfeit, the Aurora Polaris, determining the situation, form, motion and spectrum of this phenomenon. He could also speak with authority on the 'mother of pearl' clouds high in the stratosphere, and in addition had long studied the motion of charged particles arriving at the earth from the sun.

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