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William W. Coblentz

AKA William Weber Coblentz

Born: 20-Nov-1873
Birthplace: North Lima, OH
Died: 15-Sep-1962
Location of death: Washington, DC
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, DC

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Astronomer, Physicist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Infrared spectroscopy

For forty years, American physicist and astronomer William W. Coblentz was Director of the Radiometry Division at the US National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology). His accomplishments include determining the absorption spectra of gases, liquids, and solids; calibration of radiant energy in absolute units; calibration of sources and detectors in the ultraviolet region; determining the temperature range on the surface of Mars; measuring radiant energy from stars, planets, and the sun; and study of ozone distribution in the atmosphere. He was the first scientist to accurately determine the constants of black body radiation, thus confirming Max Planck's law. His wife, Catherine Cate Coblentz, was a popular author of children's books.

Father: David Coblentz (farmer)
Mother: Catherine Coblentz (d. 1876)
Mother: Amelia Coblentz (stepmother)
Brother: Oscar Coblentz
Wife: Catherine Emma Cate Coblentz (author, b. 5-Jun-1897, m. 10-Jun-1924, d. 30-May-1951)
Daughter: (d. infancy)

    High School: Youngstown, OH (1896)
    University: BS Physics, Case Western Reserve University (1900)
    University: MS Physics, Cornell University (1901)
    University: PhD Physics, Cornell University (1903)

    Rumford Prize 1937
    National Academy of Sciences
    National Institute of Standards and Technology Director of the Radiometry Division (1905-45)
    Lunar Crater Coblentz
    German Ancestry
    Swiss Ancestry

Author of books:
Investigations of Infra-Red Spectra (1905, three volumes)
A Physical Study of the Firefly (1912)
From the Life of A Researcher (1951, autobiography)
Man's Place in A Superphysical World (1954)


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