Pickering, Edward Charles

Pickering, Edward Charles, 1846–1919, American astronomer and physicist, b. Boston, grad. Harvard (B.S., 1865); brother of W. H. Pickering. He was professor of physics (1868–77) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was the first in the United States to initiate general instruction in physics in a laboratory equipped with instruments and apparatus. The results of work in photographic photometry and spectroscopy done under his direction at the Harvard Observatory are recorded in more than a quarter of a million plates; the observatory was notable for its use of women as assistants, some of whom made noteworthy contributions to the field. Pickering devised several instruments, including the meridian photometer, used in the measurements. He set up a station in Arequipa, Peru, to observe the southern sky. In addition to editing 70 volumes (1855–1919) of the Annals of Harvard Observatory, he wrote Elements of Physical Manipulations (2 vol., 1873–76).

See D. Sobel, The Glass Universe (2016).

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