Since April 1990, millions of people across the planet have been entranced by the images provided by the Hubble Telescope. As they create computer desktop backgrounds and posters of these images, a large portion of these people don’t know about the namesake of the telescope. As a visionary in the field of extragalactic astronomy, Edwin Hubble provided the world with conclusive evidence as he found galaxies residing outside of our own.
Hubble the Athlete
Through Hubble’s life as a child and teenager, he was more prone to physical activities than science. He was an athlete who won several first place standings in the high school track and field meet and enjoyed amateur boxing. Hubble was the typical high school jock who enjoyed physical activities. Although he spent a great deal of time practicing the physical aspects of high school, Hubble did receive good grades in his classes.
At the age of 21, Edwin Hubble received his Bachelor’s Degree in science from the University of Chicago in 1910. At the request of his father, Hubble began to study jurisprudence at The Queen’s College, Oxford as one of that school’s first Rhodes Scholars. This honor had been bestowed to Hubble as a foreign scholarship program initiated by Oxford as part of the first large-scale scholarship offering for International education.
After earning his Master’s Degree from Oxford, Hubble returned home in 1913 to care for his family as his father had died that same year. He taught physics, mathematics, and science at the New Albany High School for a year before deciding to redefine himself by furthering his own studies. Entering the graduate program at the University of Chicago to study astronomy, Hubble received his PhD in 1917 at the age of 28.
Not All Were Nebulae
As Hubble viewed the collections of gas and dust through the Hooker telescope (pictured), he made an observation that wouldn’t be widely accepted by the science community. Hubble observed that the objects that were once thought as nebulae, such as Andromeda, were actually too far away in order to be part of our galaxy. These collections of gas and stars had to be galaxies of their own accord.
The Hooker telescope had also assisted Edwin Hubble in determining the rate of expansion of the Universe. This theory was based on objects farther from the Earth moving at a much faster pace than those closer. This is what gives evidence to the belief that the Universe is constantly expanding at a continued rate of increase as time passes.
During his lifetime, the Nobel Prize didn’t recognize astronomy as being a part of the physics genre. This made it impossible for others like himself to be eligible for this prestigious award. Contributions to astrophysics only increases our understanding of the Universe and of ourselves as a life form within. Shortly after his death in 1953, the Nobel Prize Committee agreed to include future contributions by those in astronomy to be a part of the physics arena.
Edwin Hubble’s galactic discoveries made him one of the most prominent minds in extragalactic astronomy in the 20th century. Unable to fulfill his father’s wishes to instead study law, Hubble renewed his career choice as a professional astronomer. How would the world view galactic astronomy if Edwin Hubble had been attending court proceedings instead of monitoring telescopic images of distant galaxy formations?
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