Struve, Otto, 1897-1963

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Astronomer (astrophysics of stars, spectroscopy, interstellar studies, origin of universe) and administrator. On the staff of Yerkes Observatory, 1921-1932, director, 1932-1950; editor, ASTROPHYSICS JOURNAL, 1932-1947; on the astrophysics faculty, department chair, and director, Leuschner Observatory, University of California, Berkeley, 1950-1959; and director, National Radio Astronomy Observatory from 1959.

From the description of Selected correspondence [microform], 1932-1945. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 82625986

Astronomer (astrophysics of stars, spectroscopy, interstellar studies, origin of universe) and administrator. On the staff of Yerkes Observatory (1921-1932), director (1932-1947); on the astrophysics faculty at the University of Chicago (1932-1950); director, McDonald Observatory (1932-1950); editor, Astrophysics Journal (1932-1947); on the astrophysics faculty, department chair, and director, Leuschner Observatory, University of California, Berkeley (1950-1959); and director, National Radio Astronomy Observatory from 1959.

From the description of Correspondence, 1926-1944. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 82394892

Ukranian-born Otto Struve was an influential astronomer, professor, and observatory director who specialized in stellar spectroscopy and the study of double stars. He served as director of the University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory before moving to the University of California, Berkeley in 1950, where he was named chair of the Astronomy Dept.

From the description of Otto Struve papers, 1837-1966 (bulk 1953-1956). (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 85168500

Biographical Sketch

Otto Struve (August 12, 1897-April 6, 1963) was an influential astronomer, professor, and observatory director who specialized in stellar spectroscopy and the study of double stars. Struve's research achievements, administrative talents, and active promotion of international cooperation greatly influenced the development astronomy in the 20th century.

Born in Kharkov, Russia (now the Ukraine) to Gustav Wilhelm Ludwig and Elisabeth (Grohmann) von Struve, Otto Struve was descended from a family of noted astronomers. His great-grandfather, Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve was the director of the Imperial Observatory at Pulkovo, Russia, and was a pioneer in the study of double stars. Otto Struve's grandfather, Otto Wilhelm Struve, succeeded Friedrich as director of the Pulkovo Observatory. Otto's father was director of the observatory and dean of the faculty at the University of Kharkov.

Struve attended high school in Kharkov (graduating in 1916), spent a year at the Michael Artillery School in Petrograd, and received his diploma in 1919 from the University of Kharkov, where he specialized in astronomy. He served as a lieutenant of field artillery in the Imperial Russian Army from 1916 to 1918, and in 1919-20 fought in the White Russian Army in the Bolshevik Revolution, where he was wounded in action. When the opposition to the Communists collapsed, Struve moved to Turkey as a refugee where he worked odd jobs until he was invited by Edwin Frost to come to the United States and join the staff of the University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory in 1921. The Yerkes Observatory boasted one of the largest telescopes in the world at the time. Struve began his work at the University of Chicago as an assistant in stellar spectroscopy while concurrently working for his Ph.D. degree, which he received in 1923. His thesis was entitled A Study of Spectroscopic Binaries of Short Period. In May 1925 Struve married Mary Martha Lanning. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1927.

Upon attaining his doctorate he immediately began his teaching career at the University of Chicago, first as an instructor in astronomy (1924-26), then an assistant professor (1926-30), associate professor (1930-32), and finally a full professor (1932). In 1939 he founded and directed the University of Texas' McDonald Observatory (where a telescope is named for him). In 1950 he moved to the University of California, Berkeley and became chairman of the Department of Astronomy and director of the Leuschner Observatory. In 1959 he took a leave of absence to assume the first directorship of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, West Virginia (where he also encouraged the first search for extraterrestrial intelligence). He held this position until his retirement in 1962. While at Berkeley Struve initiated the establishment of the campus computer center and was also largely responsible for the creation of the radio astronomy laboratory.

Among the many honors Struve received over the years were the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Isaac Newton medal of the Royal Astronomical Society of London for 1944, the Order of the Crown, rank of Chevalier (Belgium), and the Catherine Bruce gold medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for 1948. In 1936 he was chosen to represent the American Astronomical Society in the division of physical sciences of the National Research Council, and he served as chairman of the advisory committee on astronomy to the Office of Naval Research. Struve also received honorary doctorates from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland (1939), the University of Copenhagen (1946), and the University of Liege (1949).

Struve was president of the American Astronomical Society from 1946 to 1949. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, International Astronomical Union, the American Physical Society, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Academy of Sciences of Denmark (honorary), the Societe Astronomique de France, and the Astronomische Gesellschaft. He also was a corresponding member of the Societe Royale des Sciences de Liege, of the Haarlem (Holland) Society of Sciences, and a foreign associate member of the Royal Astronomical Society of London. Struve also belonged to the national honorary scientific fraternity, Sigma Xi. As a frequent contributor to astronomy periodicals Struve published over 900 articles and several books and he was editor of the Astrophysical Journal from 1933 to 1947.

From the guide to the Otto Struve papers, 1837-1966, (bulk 1953-1956), (The Bancroft Library.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Roman, Nancy Grace, 1925-. Oral history interview with Nancy Grace Roman, 1980 August 19. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Edmondson, Frank K. (Frank Kelley), 1912-. Selected papers [microform], 1936-1948. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Astrophysical Journal. Records, 1894-1951 Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library,
referencedIn Bondi, Hermann. Oral history interview with Hermann Bondi, 1978 March 20. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Charles P. (Charles Pollard) Olivier correspondence, 1915-1962, 1915-1962 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Astrophysical journal records, 1894-1951 (inclusive) University of Chicago Library
creatorOf Bowen, Ira Sprague, 1898-1973. Papers of Ira Sprague Bowen, 1940-1973. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Ralph A. Sawyer Papers, 1918-1978 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Adel, Arthur, 1908-1994. Oral history interview with Arthur Adel, 1987 August 13. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Hall, John S. (John Scoville), 1908-1991. Papers, 1947-1969. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Astronomy. Records of the Department of Astronomy, 1882-1960. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Struve, Otto, 1897-1963. Correspondence, 1926-1944. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Morgan, W. W. (William Wilson), 1906-1994. Oral history interview with W.W. Morgan, 1978 August 8 and 9. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy Records, 1953-1974 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Wesselink, Adriaan J., 1909-. Oral history interview with Adriann J. Wesselink, 1977 September 23 and 1978 June 21. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Oort, Jan Hendrik. Papers, 1919-1975. American Institute of Physics
creatorOf Struve, Otto, 1897-1963. Struve papers, [1931-1947] [microform]. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
creatorOf Wylie, C. C. (Charles Clayton), b. 1886. Papers of C.C. Wylie, 1910-1960 (bulk 1950-1955). University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf Swings, P. (Polydore), 1906-1983. Swings--Struve correspondence, [1932-1962] [microform]. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
creatorOf Struve, Otto, 1897-1963. Otto Struve papers, 1837-1966 (bulk 1953-1956). UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Van de Kamp, Peter, 1901-. Dedication of McDonald Observatory at Fort Davis, Texas [motion picture] / taken by Peter Van de Kamp. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Greenstein, Jesse L. (Jesse Leonard), 1909-2002. Oral history interview with Jesse Leonard Greenstein, 1977 April 7 to 1978 May 19. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Oort, Jan Hendrik. Selected correspondence of Jan Hendrik Oort, 1927-1956 [microform]. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
referencedIn Yerkes Observatory. University of Chicago, Yerkes Observatory, Office of the Director records 1891-1946 (inclusive) University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Van de Kamp, Peter, 1901-. The Struve succession, 1965 and related correspondence [manuscript]. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Strand, K. Aage (Kaj Aage), 1907-2000. K. Aage Strand papers, 1875-1999 (bulk 1947-1977). Library of Congress
creatorOf Sawyer, Ralph A. (Ralph Alanson), 1895-1978. Ralph A. Sawyer papers, 1918-1978. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Hoffleit, Dorrit. Oral history interview with Ellen Dorrit Hoffleit, 1979 August 4. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Hall, J. L. (John L.), 1934-. Oral history interview with John L. Hall, 1979 February 21. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn University of Chicago. Yerkes Observatory. Office of the Director. Records, 1891-1946 Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library,
referencedIn Babcock, Horace W. Oral history interview with Horace W. Babcock, 1977, July 25. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Bowen, Ira Sprague, 1898-1973. Correspondence to Bowen about gaseous nebulae, 1934. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Strömgren, Bengt, 1908-. Oral history interview with Bengt Georg Daniel Strömgren, 1976 May 6 and 13. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Ebbighausen, E. G. (Edwin George), 1911-. Response to History of Modern Astrophysics Survey, 1980. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Russell, Henry Norris, 1877-1957. Correspondence [microform], 1890-1950. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Spinrad, Hyron, 1934-. Oral history interview with Hyron Spinrad, 1977 July 19. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Nicholson, Seth B. (Seth Barnes), 1891-1963. Papers of Seth Barnes Nicholson, 1914-1963. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Olivier, Charles P. (Charles Pollard), b. 1884. Correspondence, 1915-1962. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Goldberg, Leo. Oral history interview with Leo Goldberg, 1978 May 16 to 1982. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Otto Struve papers, 1837-1966, (bulk 1953-1956) Bancroft Library
referencedIn Bok, Bart J. (Bart Jan), 1906-1983. Oral history interview with Bart Jan Bok, 1978 May 15 to 14 June. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Seares, Frederick Hanley, 1873-. Papers of Frederick Hanley Seares, 1909-1945 (bulk 1909-1940). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf McMath, Robert R. (Robert Raynolds), 1891-1962. Robert R. McMath papers, 1916-1962. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Center for History of Physics (American Institute of Physics). History of Modern Astrophysics Archives, 1976-1979. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Dunham, Theodore, 1897-1984. Selected papers [microform], 1921-1979, (bulk 1930-1960). American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Greenstein, Jesse L. (Jesse Leonard), 1909-2002. Oral history interview with Jesse Leonard Greenstein, 1982 February 25, and March 16 and 23, 1982. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Hertzsprung, Ejnar, 1873-1967. Correspondence, 1903-1966. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Carpenter, Edwin Francis, 1898-1963. Papers of Edwin Francis Carpenter, 1917-1963 (bulk 1930-1960). University of Arizona Libraries
referencedIn Swings, P. (Polydore), 1906-1983. Correspondence with Otto Struve [microform], 1932-1963. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Biermann, Ludwig, 1907-1986. Oral history interview with Ludwig Franz Benedikt Biermann, 1978 June 23 and July 6. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Chandrasekhar, S. (Subrahmanyan), 1910-. Oral history interview with S. Chandrasekhar, 1977 May 17 to October 31. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Greenstein, Jesse L. (Jesse Leonard), 1909-2002. Oral history interview with Jesse Leonard Greenstein, 1974 July 31. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Oort, Jan Hendrik. Selected correspondence [microform], 1927-1956. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Hubble, Edwin Powell, 1889-1953. Selected papers [microform], 1900-1960. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn History of Modern Astrophysics Collection, 1849-1979 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Chandrasekhar, S. (Subrahmanyan), 1910-. Oral history interview with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, 1987 October 6. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Münch Galindo, Guido. Oral history interview with Guido Münch, 1977 July 7. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Struve, Otto, 1897-1963. Selected correspondence [microform], 1932-1945. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Wright, F. E. (Frederic Eugene), 1877-1953. Papers of Frederic Eugene Wright, 1924-1961. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Robert R. McMath Papers, 1916-1962 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Unsöld, Albrecht, 1905-. Oral history interview with Albrecht Unsöld, 1984 February 24. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, Walter S. (Walter Sydney), 1876-1956. person
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associatedWith Bok, Bart J. (Bart Jan), 1906-1983. person
associatedWith Bondi, Hermann. person
associatedWith Bowen, Ira Sprague, 1898-1973. person
correspondedWith Carpenter, Edwin Francis, 1898-1963. person
associatedWith Center for History of Physics (American Institute of Physics). corporateBody
associatedWith Chandrasekhar, S. (Subrahmanyan), 1910-1995. person
associatedWith Dunham, Theodore. person
associatedWith Dunham, Theodore, 1897-1984. person
associatedWith Ebbighausen, E. G. (Edwin George), 1911- person
associatedWith Edmondson, Frank K. (Frank Kelley), 1912- person
associatedWith Frost, Edwin Brant, 1866-1935 person
associatedWith Gaposchkin, Cecilia Helena Payne, 1900- person
associatedWith Goldberg, Leo. person
associatedWith Greenstein, Jesse L. (Jesse Leonard), 1909-2002. person
associatedWith Hall, J. L. (John L.), 1934- person
associatedWith Hall, John S. (John Scoville), 1908-1991. person
associatedWith Hertzsprung, Ejnar, 1873-1967. person
associatedWith Herzberg, Gerhard, 1904-1999. person
associatedWith Hoffleit, Dorrit. person
associatedWith Hubble, Edwin Powell, 1889-1953. person
associatedWith Hutchins, Robert Maynard, 1899-1977. person
associatedWith International Astronomical Union. corporateBody
associatedWith Keenan, Philip C. (Philip Childs), 1908- person
associatedWith Kuiper, Gerard P. (Gerard Peter), 1905-1973. person
associatedWith Leuschner Observatory (University of California, Berkeley) corporateBody
associatedWith McDonald Observatory. corporateBody
associatedWith McMath, Robert R. (Robert Raynolds), 1891-1962. person
associatedWith Menzel, Donald H. (Donald Howard), 1901-1976. person
associatedWith Morgan, W. W. (William Wilson), 1906-1994. person
associatedWith Münch Galindo, Guido. person
associatedWith National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Radio Astronomy Observatory (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Nicholson, Seth B. (Seth Barnes), 1891-1963. person
associatedWith Olivier, Charles P. (Charles Pollard), b. 1884. person
associatedWith Online Archive of California. corporateBody
associatedWith Oort, Jan Hendrik. person
associatedWith Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967. person
associatedWith Roman, Nancy Grace, 1925- person
associatedWith Russell, Henry Norris, 1877-1957. person
associatedWith Sawyer, Ralph A. (Ralph Alanson), 1895-1978. person
associatedWith Seares, Frederick Hanley, 1873- person
associatedWith Shapley, Harlow, 1885-1972. person
associatedWith Spinrad, Hyron, 1934- person
correspondedWith Strand, K. Aage (Kaj Aage), 1907-2000. person
associatedWith Strömgren, Bengt, 1908- person
associatedWith Struve, F. G. W. (Friedrich Georg Wilhelm), 1793-1864. person
associatedWith Swings, P. (Polydore), 1906-1983. person
associatedWith University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Astronomy. corporateBody
associatedWith University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Astronomy. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Chicago. corporateBody
associatedWith Unsöld, Albrecht, 1905- person
associatedWith Van de Kamp, Peter, 1901- person
associatedWith Wesselink, Adriaan J., 1909- person
associatedWith Wright, F. E. (Frederic Eugene), 1877-1953. person
associatedWith Wylie, C. C. (Charles Clayton), b. 1886. person
correspondedWith Yerkes Observatory. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
California--Berkeley
Subject
Astrophysics
World War, 1939-1945
Astrophysics--History--Sources
Interstellar matter
Stars, New
Variable stars
Astronomical spectroscopy
Spectrum analysis--Classification
Double stars
Astronomers
Stars--Rotation
Spectrum analysis
Physics literature
Stark effect
Astronomy
Stars--Spectra
Occupation
College administrators
Astronomers
Function

Person

Birth 1897-08-12

Death 1963-04-06

Americans

Russian,

English

Information

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