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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index M > William Wilson Morgan Quotes

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William Wilson Morgan
(3 Jan 1906 - 21 Jun 1994)

American astronomer.


Science Quotes by William Wilson Morgan (5 quotes)

Classification is now a pejorative statement. You know, these classifiers look like “dumb fools.” I’m a classifier. But I’d like to use a word that includes more than what people consider is encompassed by classification. It is more than that, and it’s something which can be called phenomenology.
— William Wilson Morgan
'Oral History Transcript: Dr. William Wilson Morgan' (8 Aug 1978) in the Niels Bohr Library & Archives.
Science quotes on:  |  Call (769)  |  Classification (97)  |  Consider (416)  |  Dumb (11)  |  Fool (116)  |  Include (90)  |  Know (1519)  |  Look (582)  |  More (2559)  |  People (1005)  |  Phenomenology (3)  |  Something (719)  |  Statement (142)  |  Use (766)  |  Word (622)

I remember my father had a sermon he used to preach when we were in Florida, in which he gave a reference to the Southern Cross—about the stars, the colors, in the Southern Cross, which thrilled me very much. I must have been around 5 years old. ... Now, it turns out that the Southern Cross itself does have one red star, together with three blue ones.
— William Wilson Morgan
'Oral History Transcript: Dr. William Wilson Morgan' (8 Aug 1978) in the Niels Bohr Library & Archives.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (242)  |  Color (138)  |  Father (110)  |  Must (1526)  |  Old (480)  |  Remember (179)  |  Sermon (9)  |  Star (430)  |  Stars (304)  |  Thrill (22)  |  Together (387)  |  Turn (447)  |  Year (932)

The greatest of all spectral classifiers, Antonia Maury had two strikes on her: the biggest one was, she was a woman. A woman had no chance at anything in astronomy except at Harvard in the 1880’s and 1890’s. And even there, things were rough. It now turns out that her director, E.C. Pickering, did not like the way she classified; she then refused to change to suit him; and after her great publication in Harvard Annals 28 (1897), she left Harvard—and in a sense, astronomy. ... I would say the most remarkable phenomenological investigation in modern astronomy is Miss Maury’s work in Harvard Annals 28. She didn’t have anything astrophysical to go on. Investigations between 1890 and 1900 were the origin of astrophysics. But these were solar, mostly. And there Miss Maury was on the periphery. I’ve seen pictures of groups, where she’d be standing away a little bit to one side of the other people, a little bit in the background. It was a very sad thing. When Hertzsprung wrote Pickering to congratulate him on Miss Maury’s work that had led to Hertzsprung’s discovery of super giants, Pickering is supposed to have replied that Miss Maury’s work was wrong — could not possibly be correct.
— William Wilson Morgan
'Oral History Transcript: Dr. William Wilson Morgan' (8 Aug 1978) in the Niels Bohr Library & Archives.
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The year 1918 was the time of the great influenza epidemic, the schools were closed. And this was when, as far as I can remember, the first explicitly strong interest in astronomy developed ... I took a piece of bamboo, and sawed a piece in the middle of each end, to put a couple of spectacle lenses in it. Well, the Pleiades looked nice because the stars were big. I thought I was looking at stars magnified. Well, they weren’t. It was a little thing with two lenses at random on each end, and all you got were extra focal images, big things, but I thought I was looking at star surfaces. I was 12 years old.
— William Wilson Morgan
'Oral History Transcript: Dr. William Wilson Morgan' (8 Aug 1978) in the Niels Bohr Library & Archives.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Astronomy (231)  |  Biography (242)  |  Closed (38)  |  Develop (268)  |  Development (424)  |  End (590)  |  Epidemic (7)  |  First (1284)  |  Great (1575)  |  Image (96)  |  Influenza (3)  |  Interest (386)  |  Lens (14)  |  Little (708)  |  Look (582)  |  Looking (189)  |  Magnification (9)  |  Old (480)  |  Pleiades (3)  |  Random (41)  |  Remember (179)  |  Saw (160)  |  School (220)  |  Spectacle (33)  |  Star (430)  |  Stars (304)  |  Strong (174)  |  Surface (209)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Thought (954)  |  Time (1877)  |  Two (937)  |  Year (932)

[Otto Struve] made the remark once that he never looked at the spectrum of a star, any star, where he didn’t find something important to work on.
— William Wilson Morgan
'Oral History Transcript: Dr. William Wilson Morgan' (8 Aug 1978) in the Niels Bohr Library & Archives.
Science quotes on:  |  Find (999)  |  Importance (287)  |  Look (582)  |  Never (1087)  |  Remark (28)  |  Research (677)  |  Something (719)  |  Spectrum (31)  |  Star (430)  |  Work (1351)


See also:
  • 3 Jan - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Morgan's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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