Biographies

Arthur Eddington and the energy of the stars

Arthur Eddington and the energy of the stars

Arthur Stanley Eddington was an astrophysicist who became famous for spreading the Theory of Relativity in the Anglo-Saxon world and for demonstrating that energy is transported inside the stars by radiation and convection.

He was born on December 28, 1882 in Kendal, Westmorlnad, England. In his childhood he studied in a public school (Brymelyn School) due to the low income of his widowed mother. He excelled in math and English studies.

In 1898 he was awarded a three-year scholarship with which he agreed to study at Owens College in Manchester, between 1898 and 1902. For his high school performance he was again awarded a scholarship to study at Trinity College in Cambridge and began in 1905 his works at the Royal Astronomical Observatory of Greenwich, the first of which was to reduce plates taken to the Eros asteroid to determine a suitable value for solar parallax.

In 1912 Arthur Stanley Eddington began teaching astronomy and experimental philosophy at the University of Cambridge. From 1914 he was appointed director of the Cambridge Observatory and, shortly thereafter, a member of the Royal Astronomy Society.

He became interested in Einstein's theory of relativity in 1915, especially those works that explained the abnormal movement of the orbit of Mercury and it was he who, being a participant in the expedition to observe the solar eclipse in March 1919 in West Africa, documented the displacement of the position of the stars observed during eclipses of the sun, which confirmed the theory that light is deflected by gravity. His most important book on this subject was titled "Mathematical Theory of Relativity", published in 1923.

Another test conducted by Eddington to verify the certainty of the theory of relativity was to measure the redshift of the light emitted by a large mass object. In 1925 he studied the light of the star Sirius B, a white dwarf of great density, corroborating the theory exposed by Einstein.

He defended the theory of the expansion of the universe, but disagreed with the theories of black holes proposed by Chandrasekhar. He was a great student of the internal structure of the stars. He discovered the mass / luminosity ratio, calculated the amount of hydrogen and proposed a theory to explain the pulsation of the Cepheid stars.

Arthur Stanley Eddington also conducted studies to apply physics to stellar conditions that were a great approximation to the understanding of energy production by the stars. He proposed that these be maintained in a balance that involved three forces: gravity, gas pressure and radiation pressure. He showed that energy was transported by radiation and convection.

All these works were reflected in the book "Constitution of Stars" (1926). In the 1930s Eddington tried unsuccessfully to combine relativity with quantum theory. He was one of the most popular writers of scientific books. He was appointed Knight of the court in 1930 and received the order of merit in 193. Eddington was recognized by the greatest astronomical societies in the world.

He died on November 22, 1944 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England. His latest book, "Fundamental Theory" (1946), was published posthumously.

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