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Joel Stebbins

Born: 30-Jul-1878
Birthplace: Omaha, NE
Died: 16-Mar-1966
Location of death: Palo Alto, CA
Cause of death: Cancer - Leukemia

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

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Photoelectric photometry

Astronomer Joel Stebbins investigated eclipsing binaries, and the effects of interstellar dust on light absorption and the perceived colors of galaxies. He devised a photoelectric cell and infrared filter that allowed stargazers to pierce some of the cosmic clouds that inhibit study of the Milky Way's galactic center. Stebbins' experiments with plates hypersensitive to ultraviolet light revealed numerous nebulae that had previously been invisible. His numerous improvements to photoelectric photometry helped that technique progress until it replaced photography as the standard for astronomy.

Father: Charles Sumner Stubbins (accountant, b. 1848)
Mother: Sarah Ann Stubbs Stebbins (b. 1846)
Sister: Eunice Stebbins (school teacher)
Sister: Millicent Stebbins (school teacher, b. 1883)
Wife: May Louise Prentiss Stebbins (m. 27-Jun-1905, d. 1970)
Son: Robert Stebbins (attorney, b. circa 1907)
Daughter: Isabelle Stebbins Dodge (b. circa 1910)

    University: BS, University of Nebraska (1899)
    Scholar: University of Wisconsin at Madison
    University: PhD Physics, University of California at Berkeley (1903)
    Administrator: Director of Observatory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1903-22)
    Administrator: Director of Washburn Observatory, University of Wisconsin at Madison (1922-48)
    Scholar: Lick Observatory, University of California at Santa Cruz (1948-58)

    Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal 1950
    Bruce Medal 1941
    Henry Draper Medal 1915
    Rumford Prize 1913
    American Astronomical Society
    National Academy of Sciences
    Phi Delta Theta Fraternity
    Asteroid Namesake 2300 Stebbins

Author of books:
Measuring the Light of the Stars (1916)
Photo-Electric Photometry of Stars (1928, with Charles M. Huffer)


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