Honorary Member: Henry Norris Russell

Henry Norris Russell (1877-1957) was elected an honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada on 1946-01-18. The following citation was read:

Professor Henry Norris Russell has just completed forty years on the faculty of Princeton University. During this period there are few fields in astronomy and astrophysics in which, alone or with collaborators, he has not made outstanding contributions.

In the field of stellar dynamics Russell devised several very ingenious ways of quantitatively determining the orbital and physical elements of spectroscopic and eclipsing binaries. For visual binaries and slow moving pairs he determined parallaxes by dynamical methods. Statistically he investigated the relationships between stellar spectra and stellar luminosities, deriving independently the Russell-Hertzsprung diagram.

Both in the analysis of laboratory spectra and the application of such analysis to the sun and stars, Russell played pioneer roles. He was fascinated by and very successful in, the puzzles of assigning atomic energy levels to simple and progressively more complex atoms. Extending this to the stars and sun, and applying Saha's laws, he succeeded in determining very completely the quantitative physical and chemical conditions of these atmospheres. He also contributed significant advances to our knowledge of planetary atmospheres.

As well as directing the Princeton Observatory, Professor Russell has served for many years as Research Associate at the Mount Wilson Observatory. He is a past president of the American Astronomical Society and of the American Philosophical Society. For almost twenty years Russell, Dugan and Stewart's 'Astronomy' has been used as the important textbook for succeeding classes of students and reference book for the more serious amateur astronomers.

Professor Russell had delivered a series of popular astronomy lectures in Toronto in February 1924.

The asteroid (1762) Russell, discovered at Goethe Link Observatory by a team led by his son-in-law, F.K. Edmondson, is named for Professor Russell.

Title/Given Name: 
Prof. Henry Norris