Bowen, Ira Sprague
- Donald E. Osterbrock
Bowen, Ira Sprague (21 December 1898–06 February 1973), astrophysicist and first director of the combined Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories, was born in Seneca Falls, New York, the son of James H. Bowen, a Methodist minister, and Philinda Sprague, who became a teacher after her husband’s death. Bowen (always known as “Ike” to his friends) attended the high school and three years of the junior college that formed part of the Houghton Wesleyan Methodist Seminary, at which his mother taught. He was an excellent student. His teacher in physics, mathematics, and astronomy, J. S. Luckey, the president of the college, helped him transfer to Oberlin College for his senior year. Bowen received his A.B. at Oberlin in 1919 and entered the University of Chicago as a graduate student in physics. In two years he took all the graduate courses taught by ...