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Langley, Samuel

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Definition: Langley, Samuel Pierpont (1834 - 1906) from

The Macmillan Encyclopedia

US astronomer, whose work on aerodynamics contributed to the design of early aircraft. Langley himself failed to build a working aircraft, in spite of a $50,000 grant from the US Government.

Summary Article: Langley, Samuel Pierpont from The Columbia Encyclopedia
Langley, Samuel Pierpont, 1834-1906, American scientist, b. Roxbury, Mass., received only a high school education but continued his studies in science in Boston libraries. He became, in 1866, professor of physics at the Western Univ. of Pennsylvania (now the Univ. of Pittsburgh) and director of the Allegheny Observatory there. He did much to popularize astronomy; his book The New Astronomy (1888) was widely read. He invented the bolometer, a highly sensitive instrument for recording variations in heat radiation, and with it measured the distribution of heat in the solar and lunar spectra. In 1887, Langley became secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and established the Astrophysical Observatory and the National Zoological Park there. He continued his study of the solar spectrum and made new determinations of the solar constant of radiation and, in 1904, announced his conclusion that this solar constant was a variable. He constru...    Continue Reading

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