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William W. Morgan

AKA William Wilson Morgan

Born: 3-Jan-1906
Birthplace: Bethesda, TN
Died: 21-Jun-1994
Location of death: Williams Bay, WI
Cause of death: Heart Failure

Gender: Male
Religion: Congregationalist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Astronomer

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Spiral arms of the Milky Way Galaxy

Astronomical morphologist William W. Morgan studied under Otto Wilhelm Struve, came to Yerkes Observatory as a summer student when he was twenty years of age, and spent most of his life working and living there. He provided the first proof that the Milky Way Galaxy has spiral arms. He investigated and catalogued star brightness, discovered "flash" variable stars (stars with rapidly changing luminosity), established the UBV (ultraviolet-blue-visual) magnitudes system for photometry, and made leading contributions to the development of morphological classification techniques for modern astronomy and the Yerkes system of galaxy. While living in rustic Williams Bay, Wisconsin, home of Yerkes Observatory, he was President of the Village Board (effectively, mayor) from 1947-51.

Father: William T. Morgan (Methodist missionary)
Mother: Mary Wilson Morgan (Methodist missionary)
Sister: Mildred Morgan
Sister: Sally Morgan Selder
Wife: Helen Montgomery Barrett Morgan (m. 1928, d. 1963)
Daughter: Emily Morgan
Son: William B. Morgan
Wife: Jean Doyle Eliot Morgan (teacher, m. 1966)

    High School: Marvin College, Fredericktown, MO (attended 1920-21)
    High School: Central High School, Washington, DC (1923)
    University: Washington and Lee University (attended 1923-25)
    University: BS Astronomy, University of Chicago (1928)
    University: PhD Astronomy, University of Chicago (1931)
    Scholar: Yerkes Observatory, University of Chicago (1926-94)
    Teacher: Astronomy, University of Chicago (1932-47)
    Professor: Astronomy, University of Chicago (1947-74)
    Administrator: Director of McDonald Observatory, University of Texas at Austin (1960-63)
    Administrator: Director of Yerkes Observatory, University of Chicago (1960-63)

    Henry Draper Medal 1980
    Bruce Medal 1958
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Astronomical Society
    National Academy of Sciences
    Pontifical Academy of Sciences
    Mayor (President of Village Board) Williams Bay, WI (1947-51)
    City Council (Village Board) Williams Bay, WI (1943-47)
    Astrophysical Journal Editor (1947-52)
    Asteroid Namesake 3180 Morgan

Author of books:
An Atlas of Stellar Spectra (1943, with Philip C. Keenan and Edith Kellman)


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