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Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

Donald H. Menzel

Photo

Dates

April 11, 1901 – December 14, 1976

Authorized Form of Name

Menzel, Donald H. (Donald Howard), 1901-1976

Additional Forms of Names

Menzel, Donald Howard, 1901-1976

Biography

Abstract

Donald Menzel was Professor of Astrophysics at Harvard University (1938-1971). Other institutional affiliations include the University of California's Lick Observatory, Ohio State University and University of Iowa. As an astrophysicist, Menzel pioneered the application of quantum mechanics to astronomical spectroscopy, established the physical characteristics of the solar chromospheres and initiated the modern era of investigations of physical processes in gaseous nebulae.

Important Dates

April 11, 1901Birth, Florence (Colo.).

1920Obtained AB in Chemistry, University of Denver, Denver (Colo.).

1921Obtained AM in Astronomy, University of Denver, Denver (Colo.).

1923Obtained AM in Astrophysics, Princeton University, Princeton (N.J.).

1924Obtained PhD in Astrophysics, Princeton University, Princeton (N.J.).

1924 – 1925Instructor in Astronomy, University of Iowa.

1925 – 1926Assistant Professor, Ohio State University.

1926 – 1932Assistant Astronomer, Lick Observatory, University of California, San Jose (Calif.).

1932 – 1976Assistant Professor of Astronomy (1932-1935); Associate Professor of Astrophysics (1935-1938); Professor of Astrophysics (1938-1971); Chair, Department of Astronomy (1946-1949); Associate Director, Solar Research (1946-1954); Acting Director, Harvard College Observatory (1952-1954); Director, Harvard College Observatory (1954-1966); Paine Professor of Practical Astronmy (1956-1971); and Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics and Emeritus Paine Professor of Practical Astronomy (1971-1976), Harvard University, Cambridge (Mass.).

1936 – 1941Editor, Telescope.

1943 – 1945Chair, Radio Propagation Committee, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

1948Member, National Academy of Sciences.

1949 – 1954Member (1949-1954) and Chair (1953-1954), Visiting Committee, National Bureau of Standards.

1958 – 1962Member, National Science Planning Board, Seattle World's Fair.

1961 – 1971Member, Board of Directors, Washington Planetarium and Space Center.

1963Visiting Professor, University of Chile.

1964 – 1967President, International Astronomical Union.

December 14, 1976Death.

Occupation

Theoretical astrophysicist.

Places

Birth

Florence (Colo.)

Undergraduate Education

Denver (Colo.)

Graduate Education

Denver (Colo.)

Princeton (N.J.)

Employment

San Jose (Calif.)

Cambridge (Mass.)

Subjects

Astronomical observatories.

Astrophysics.

Solar eclipses.

Theoretical physics.

Relationships

People

Family

Menzel, Charles Theodor

Father.

Menzel, Elizabeth

Daughter.

Menzel, Florence Kreager

Wife. Married 1926.

Menzel, Ina Zint

Mother.

Menzel, Suzanne

Daughter.

Advisors & Collaborators

Aller, Lawrence H. (Lawrence Hugh), 1913-2003

Advised by Menzel at Harvard University, "A Spectroscopic Analysis of the Planetary Nebulae."

Branscomb, Lewis M., 1926-

Advised by Menzel at Harvard University, "Anomalous rotation of molecules with applications to the temperature of the upper atmosphere, and a note on maximizing the ratio of "signal to noise" in spectrophotometry of weak light sources."

Goldberg, Leo

Advised by Menzel at Harvard University, "The intensities of helium lines."

Layzer, David

Advised by Menzel at Harvard University, "Two problems in the theory of atomic spectra: orbit-orbit interaction and central fields."

Russell, Henry Norris, 1877-1957

PhD advisor at Princeton University, "A Study of Line Intensities in Stellar Spectra."

Thomas, Richard N., 1921-1996

Advised by Menzel at Harvard University, "Superthermic Phenomena in Stellar Atmospheres."

Colleagues

Conant, James Bryant, 1893-1978

Both employed at Harvard University.

Condon, Edward Uhler, 1902-1974

Both employed at the National Bureau of Standards.

Dalgarno, A.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Geller, Margaret J.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Giacconi, Riccardo

Both employed at Harvard University.

McKee, Christopher, 1942-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Spitzer, Lyman, 1914-1997

Both employed at Harvard University.

Taylor, Joseph H. (Joseph Hooton)

Both employed at Harvard University.

Additional

Aarons, Jules

Ancker-Johnson, Betsy, 1929-

Baker, James Gilbert

Bok, Bart J. (Bart Jan), 1906-1983

Bowen, Ira Sprague, 1898-1973

Burbidge, Geoffrey R.

Darrow, Karl K. (Karl Kelchner), 1891-

De Vaucouleurs, Gérard, 1918-1995

Dunham, Theodore, 1897-1984

Dupree, Andrea K.

Gingerich, Owen

Gold, Thomas

Greenstein, Jesse L. (Jesse Leonard), 1909-2002

Haramundanis, Katherine, 1937-

Hasselmann, Klaus, 1931-

Hoffleit, Dorrit

Jeffries, John T.

King, Ivan R.

Latham, David W.

Mayall, Margaret W. (Margaret Walton)

McMath, Robert R. (Robert Raynolds), 1891-1962

Morse, Philip M. (Philip McCord), 1903-1985

Olivier, Charles P. (Charles Pollard)

Payne-Gaposchkin, Cecilia, 1900-1979

Pecker, Jean Claude

Pettit, Edison, 1889-1962

Reber, Grote, 1911-2002

Roberts, Walter Orr

Rohrlich, F.

Struve, Otto, 1897-1963

Sullivan, Woodruff Turner

Swope, Henrietta Hill, 1902-1980

Todd, David P. (Peck), 1855-1939.

Watson, Fletcher G. (Fletcher Guard)

Whipple, Fred L. (Fred Lawrence), 1906-2004

Wilson, Olin C., 1909-1994

Institutions

Major Positions

Harvard College Observatory

Acting Director and Director.

Harvard University. Department of Astronomy

Assistant Professor of Astronomy; Associate Professor of Astrophysics; Professor of Astrophysics; Associate Director, Solar Research; Department Chair; Paine Professor of Practical Astronomy; Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics; and Emeritus Paine Professor of Practical Astronomy.

Lick Observatory

Assistant Astronomer.

Ohio State University. Department of Physics

Assistant Professor.

University of Iowa. Department of Physics and Astronomy

Instructor in Astronomy.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

American Astronomical Society

President.

International Astronomical Union

President.

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)

Member.

Princeton University. Department of Astrophysical Sciences

Obtained AM (1923) and PhD in Astrophysics (1924).

United States. Joint Chiefs of Staff

Chair, Radio Propagation Committee.

United States. National Bureau of Standards

Member and Chair, Visiting Committee.

Universidad de Chile

Visiting Professor.

University of Denver. Department of Chemistry.

Obtained AB (1920).

University of Denver. Department of Physics

Obtained AM in Astronomy (1921).

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy records, 1953-1974.

Bentley Historical Library

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2113, USA

Barbara Bell and Donald H. Menzel papers, 1948-1970.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Donald H. Menzel Astronomy 206 course notes, 1963.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Donald H. Menzel atomic and molecular spectra: Astronomy 206 course notes, 1962.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Donald H. Menzel autobiography, September 1974.

Library.

American Philosophical Society

105 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA

Donald H. Menzel course notes for Astronomy 155, 1964-1965.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Donald H. Menzel notes of a course on astronomical geophysics presented in 1954 at Harvard College Observatory.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Donald H. Menzel papers concerning UFOs, 1952-1976.

Library.

American Philosophical Society

105 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA

Donald H. Menzel papers, 1924-1976.

Penrose Library.

University of Denver

2150 East Evans Avenue, Denver, CO 80208, USA

Donald Howard Menzel papers, 1931-1986.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Donald Howard Menzel papers, unprocessed accessions, 1901-1988.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Donald Menzel autobiography, 1974.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Ivan Robert King, 1977 July 18 and 20 July 1978.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Otto Struve selected correspondence [microform], 1932-1945.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Reference spectrum.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Robert R. McMath papers, 1916-1962.

Bentley Historical Library

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2113, USA

Theodore Dunham papers, 1926-1977 (bulk 1926-1955).

Henry E. Huntington Library

1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108, USA

Woodruff T. Sullivan papers, 1946-2009.

Archives.

National Radio Astronomy Observatory

520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA

Subject

Charles P. Olivier correspondence, 1915-1962.

Library.

American Philosophical Society

105 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA

Donald H. Menzel Centennial Symposium records, 2001 May 11.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Edison Pettit papers, 1920-1946.

Henry E. Huntington Library

1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108, USA

Edward Condon papers, circa 1920-1974.

Library.

American Philosophical Society

105 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA

Fragments of a history of the early years of the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii [manuscript], 2006.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Fritz Rohrlich correspondence, 1946-1955.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Harvard College Observatory Office of the Director correspondence, 1926-1975.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Harvard College Observatory Office of the Director records of Donald H. Menzel, 1952-1969.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Harvard College Observatory Office of the Director records, 1863-1958.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Harvard College Observatory records from scientific conferences and meetings, 1910-1975.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Harvard College Observatory records, 1843-1978.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Harvard University Department of Astronomy records, 1919-1985.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Hawaii Office of the Governor records of John Burns, 1962-1974.

Iolani Palace Grounds

Hawaii State Archvies

Honolulu, HI 96813 USA

Henrietta Hill Swope papers, 1923-1979.

Henry E. Huntington Library

1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108, USA

Henry N. Russell correspondence [microform], 1890-1950.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

International Astronomical Union General Assembly, Zurich, 1948 [motion picture] / photographed by Leo Goldberg 1948.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Ira S. Bowen correspondence, 1934.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Alex Dalgarno, 2007 December 6.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Andrea Dupree, 2007 October 29.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Bart Jan Bok, 1978 May 15, 17, 19 and 1978 June 14.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Betsy Ancker-Johnson, 2008 December 8.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Cecilia Helena Payne Gaposchkin, 1968 March 5.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with David Layzer, 2007 December 5.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with David W. Latham, 2006 October 8.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Ellen Dorrit Hoffleit, 1979 August 4.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral History interview with Fletcher G. Watson, 1990 November 20.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Fred Lawrence Whipple, 1977 April 29.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Geoffrey Burbidge, 1977 October 21.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Gerard de Vaucouleurs, 1991 November 20 and 23.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Grote Reber, 1977 November.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with James Baker, 1980 June 9.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Jean Claude Pecker, 1976 September 11 and 13.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Jesse Leonard Greenstein, 1974 July 31.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Joseph H. Taylor, 2001 October 29.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral History interview with Jules Aarons, 1983 December 12.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Kathy Haramundanis, 2005 October 20.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Klaus Hasselmann, 2006 February 15.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Lawrence H. Aller, 1979 August 18.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Leo Goldberg, 1978 May 16 and 17, and 1982.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral History interview with Leo Goldberg, 1983 August 9 and October 10.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Leo Goldberg, 1983 February 22.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral History interview with Margaret W. Mayall, 1986 August 11 and September 12.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Olin C. Wilson, 1978 July 11.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Owen Gingerich, 2005 October 18.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Thomas Gold, 1978 April 1.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Walter Orr Roberts, 1983 July 26 and July 28.

Archives.

National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

PO Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000, USA

Philip Morse papers, 1927-1980.

Institute Archives and Special Collections

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

M.I.T. Libraries, Rm. 14N-118, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Records of the High Altitude Observatory, 1941-1953

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

University of Colorado High Altitude Observatory records, 1941-1953.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Published Resources

Author

Cosmic noise survey.

Flying saucers.

Fundamental formulas of physics.

Our sun.

Principles of atomic spectra / [by] Bruce W. Shore and Donald H. Menzel.

Publications of the Lick Observatory.

Selected papers on physical processes in ionized plasmas.

Selected papers on the transfer of radiation / edited by Donald H. Menzel.

The story of the starry universe : the science of astronomy, the size, motions, relative positions and other phenomena of the heavenly bodies / revised by Donald H. Menzel ... from the work of David Todd.

Subject

"Donald Howard Menzel: 1901-1976", Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences

Donald H. Menzel Physics Today obituary.