Charles Greeley Abbot

Charles Greeley Abbot - Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, Facts and Family

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Charles Greeley Abbot's Personal Details

Charles Greeley Abbot was an American astrophysicist, best known for his research in the field of solar energy

InformationDetail
BirthdayMay 31, 1872
Died onDecember 17, 1973
NationalityAmerican
FamousMassachusetts Institute Of Technology, Scientists, Astrophysicists
SpousesLillian Elvira Moore, Virginia Andes Johnston
Universities
  • Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Phillips Academy
Notable Alumnis
  • Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT)
Birth PlaceWilton
GenderMale
Sun SignGemini
Born inWilton
Famous asAstrophysicist

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Charles Greeley Abbot's photo

Who is Charles Greeley Abbot?

Charles Greeley Abbot was an American astrophysicist, best known for his research in the field of solar energy. His talent was evident from a young age; he built and invented numerous things, such as a forge to fix tools, a water wheel to power a saw, and a bicycle. After completing his education, he was hired as an assistant by the famous physicist, Samuel Langley, at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Under his guidance, he started his research work on solar radiations and gradually established the now-recognized value of the solar constant. He eventually took charge of both, the observatory and the institution, and went from being director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, to becoming Assistant Secretary, and then the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution over the course of his career. He also worked on the effects of solar activity on terrestrial weather patterns and designed some of the earliest solar-powered heaters and cookers as a visual aide for his lectures. He was the fifth Smithsonian Secretary and the first one to retire from his post after a long and successful career. Being an astrophysicist, he was involved in a lifelong project to establish the fact that the Sun’s energy output varies and it has a measurable effect on the Earth’s weather. Among his several successful contributions, the most famous one is undoubtedly his research on the solar constant, a research that led him towards the development of numerous patented solar energy devices.

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Childhood & Early Life

He was born on May 31, 1872 in Wilton, New Hampshire, United States, to Harris Abbot, a farmer and his wife, Caroline Ann Greeley Abbot.

He was the youngest child in his family with an elder brother, Stanley Harris Abbot, and two elder sisters, Ella Caroline Abbot and Florence Hale Abbot.

He was an innovative child and his inventions displayed his talent. He constructed a forge to fix tools, built a water wheel to power a saw, and a bicycle.

He attended several public schools and was finally enrolled at the ‘Phillips Andover Academy’. When he was 13, he dropped out of school to become a carpenter but later returned to complete his high school, which he did in 1890.

Then he went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study chemical engineering but later developed an interest towards physics and switched to it. He completed his M.Sc. in Physics in 1895.

Career

In 1895, he started his career as an assistant to Samuel P. Langley, a famous physicist and inventor, at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge.

He became a researcher on solar radiations after Langley shifted his attention from solar radiations to aeronautics. He journeyed with Langley on expeditions to North Carolina and Sumatra to observe solar eclipses.

During his expeditions to Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Australia, and other countries, he established his reputation of being a keen observer and impressed many astronomers with his talent.

After the death of Langley in 1906, he became the acting director of Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) and the following year, he was appointed the Director of SAO, a post he held for almost four decades.

In 1918, he was elected as the Assistant Secretary of Smithsonian Institution and executed his duties for proper functioning of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, the International Exchange Service and the SAO.

In 1928, he was appointed as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution along with his post as the director of SAO. Being a Secretary, he participated in fundraising events for the institution and oversaw the Smithsonian's participation in ‘Works Progress Administration’ projects.

In 1929, he opened the Radiation Biology Laboratory which supported the study of radiation effects on plants, and other organisms.

Later in his research career, he turned his focus on solar energy use. Being a promoter of harnessing solar energy for various purposes, he invented the solar cooker, the solar boiler and held 15 other patents related to solar energy.

He retired as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and the Director of Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in 1944. He was awarded the Secretary Emeritus status and he continued to pursue his research work on solar energy even after retirement. .

Major Works

One of his most notable works is the research he conducted to calculate the approximate value of solar constant, the measure of the total solar radiation energy received by the Earth over a given area and time.

He also designed solar heaters and cookers to use for lectures and demonstrations to popularize the importance of solar energy. His extensive work on solar power was the basis of a wide variety of appliances that use solar energy as their power source in today’s world.

Awards & Achievements

In 1910, he was honored with the ‘Henry Draper Medal’ by the United States National Academy of Sciences ‘for his investigations in astronomical physics’.

In 1915, he was awarded the distinguished ‘Rumford Prize’, one of the oldest scientific prizes in the United States, by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1897, he married Lillian Elvira Moore. She died in 1944, after 46 years of their marriage. They had no children.

In 1954, he married Virginia Andes Johnston. They also had no children.

He died on December 17, 1973 in Riverdale, Maryland, U.S. at the age of 101.

‘Abbot Award’, named after him, is awarded every year for “significant contributions to solar energy research” by The American Solar Energy Society.

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Charles Greeley Abbot's awards

YearNameAward

Other

0Henry Draper Medal (1910)
0 Rumford Prize (1915)

Charles Greeley Abbot biography timelines

  • // 31st May 1872
    He was born on May 31, 1872 in Wilton, New Hampshire, United States, to Harris Abbot, a farmer and his wife, Caroline Ann Greeley Abbot.
  • // 1890
    He attended several public schools and was finally enrolled at the ‘Phillips Andover Academy’. When he was 13, he dropped out of school to become a carpenter but later returned to complete his high school, which he did in 1890.
  • // 1895
    Then he went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study chemical engineering but later developed an interest towards physics and switched to it. He completed his M.Sc. in Physics in 1895.
  • // 1895
    In 1895, he started his career as an assistant to Samuel P. Langley, a famous physicist and inventor, at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge.
  • // 1897 To 1944
    In 1897, he married Lillian Elvira Moore. She died in 1944, after 46 years of their marriage. They had no children.
  • // 1906
    After the death of Langley in 1906, he became the acting director of Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) and the following year, he was appointed the Director of SAO, a post he held for almost four decades.
  • // 1910
    In 1910, he was honored with the ‘Henry Draper Medal’ by the United States National Academy of Sciences ‘for his investigations in astronomical physics’.
  • // 1915
    In 1915, he was awarded the distinguished ‘Rumford Prize’, one of the oldest scientific prizes in the United States, by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • // 1918
    In 1918, he was elected as the Assistant Secretary of Smithsonian Institution and executed his duties for proper functioning of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, the International Exchange Service and the SAO.
  • // 1928
    In 1928, he was appointed as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution along with his post as the director of SAO. Being a Secretary, he participated in fundraising events for the institution and oversaw the Smithsonian's participation in ‘Works Progress Administration’ projects.
  • // 1929
    In 1929, he opened the Radiation Biology Laboratory which supported the study of radiation effects on plants, and other organisms.
  • // 1944
    He retired as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and the Director of Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in 1944. He was awarded the Secretary Emeritus status and he continued to pursue his research work on solar energy even after retirement. .
  • // 1954
    In 1954, he married Virginia Andes Johnston. They also had no children.
  • // 17th Dec 1973
    He died on December 17, 1973 in Riverdale, Maryland, U.S. at the age of 101.

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Charles Greeley Abbot's FAQ

  • What is Charles Greeley Abbot birthday?

    Charles Greeley Abbot was born at 1872-05-31

  • When was Charles Greeley Abbot died?

    Charles Greeley Abbot was died at 1973-12-17

  • Where was Charles Greeley Abbot died?

    Charles Greeley Abbot was died in Riverdale Park

  • Where is Charles Greeley Abbot's birth place?

    Charles Greeley Abbot was born in Wilton

  • What is Charles Greeley Abbot nationalities?

    Charles Greeley Abbot's nationalities is American

  • Who is Charles Greeley Abbot spouses?

    Charles Greeley Abbot's spouses is Lillian Elvira Moore, Virginia Andes Johnston

  • What was Charles Greeley Abbot universities?

    Charles Greeley Abbot studied at Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Phillips Academy

  • What was Charles Greeley Abbot notable alumnis?

    Charles Greeley Abbot's notable alumnis is Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT)

  • What is Charles Greeley Abbot's sun sign?

    Charles Greeley Abbot is Gemini

  • How famous is Charles Greeley Abbot?

    Charles Greeley Abbot is famouse as Astrophysicist