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

Alternative names
Birth 1906-04-28
Death 1983-08-05

Biographical notes:

Astronomer. Bok (1906-1983) was Director of the Mount Stromlo Observatory, Australia 1956-1966 and Director of the Steward Observatory, Tucson, Arizona from 1966.

From the description of Oral history interview, 1973. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155006177

Bok taught astronomy at Harvard.

From the description of Papers of Bart J. Bok, 1930-1957 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 76972980

Died 1983.

From the description of Oral history interview with Bart Jan Bok, 1978 May 15 to 14 June. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81865348

The lectures in Astronomy 241 was prepared by Prof. Bart J. Bok and Dr. Harold I. Ewen.

From the description of Lectures in Astronomy 241, fall term 1953-1954. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 228512900

The lectures in Astronomy 212 was prepared by Prof. Bart J. Bok and Dr. Munch, a visiting lecturer on astronomy.

From the description of Lectures in Astronomy 212, fall term 1954-1955. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 228512920

The lectures in Astronomy 211 was prepared by Prof. Bart J. Bok.

From the description of Lecture in Astronomy 211, 1955. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 228512955

Under the direction of Bart J. Bok, who taught astronomy at Harvard, a group of graduate students at the Harvard Observatory organized a series of 14 seminars on topics related to the structure of the galaxy.

From the description of The structure of the Milky Way system : seminar notes, 1952. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 228512835

Bart Bok (1906-1983) was an accomplished astronomer, educator and administrator. Born in Hoorn, Holland in 1906, he studied at the University of Leiden and the University of Groningen, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1932. He married astronomer Priscilla Fairfield Bok, Ph.D. (1896-1975), in 1929, and had two children. He served as R.W. Willson Fellow in Astronomy at Harvard University from 1927-1929, Professor of Astronomy at this same institution from 1933-1957, and Associate Director of the Harvard Observatory from 1946-1952. Dr. Bok and his family lived in Canberra, Australia, from 1957-1966, where he served as the Director of the Mount Stromlo Observatory and Professor of Astronomy at the Australian National University. Dr. Bok was appointed as Director of the Steward Observatory and Head of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona from 1966-1970, where he served as Professor of Astronomy until his retirement in 1974. He was Professor Emeritus of Astronomy at the University of Arizona from 1974-1983.

Dr. Bok focused his research primarily on galactic structure and dynamics and stellar and interstellar matter. He was a recognized authority on The Milky Way and contributed significantly to galactic astronomy by emphasizing the importance and applications of radio astronomy. Particular areas of interest included the following: Dark Nebulae, Star Formation, Spiral Structure of the Galaxy, and Star Clouds of Magellan. His numerous publications on these subjects attest to a long and prolific research and writing career. Dr. Bok was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1939 and as an associate of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1971. In addition to his work as a research scientist and academic instructor, Dr. Bok was dedicated to educating the public, including youth audiences, through popular lectures in astronomy. He and his wife, Priscilla Fairfield Bok, also shared an interest in promoting careers in astronomy for women.

From the guide to the Bart Bok collection, 1928-1983, (University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections)


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  • Nebulae
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Astronomical observatories--Administration
  • Stars
  • Galaxies
  • Cosmology
  • Radio astronomy
  • Astronomy--Study and teaching
  • Astronomy


  • Astronomers


  • Milky Way (as recorded)