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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > Maarten Schmidt Quotes

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Maarten Schmidt
(28 Dec 1929 - )

Dutch-American astronomer.

Science Quotes by Maarten Schmidt (1 quote)

The unprecedented identification of the spectrum of an apparently stellar object in terms of a large red-shift suggests either of the two following explanations.
The stellar object is a star with a large gravitational red-shift. Its radius would then be of the order of 10km. Preliminary considerations show that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to account for the occurrence of permitted lines and a forbidden line with the same red-shift, and with widths of only 1 or 2 per cent of the wavelength.
The stellar object is the nuclear region of a galaxy with a cosmological red-shift of 0.158, corresponding to an apparent velocity of 47,400 km/sec. The distance would be around 500 megaparsecs, and the diameter of the nuclear region would have to be less than 1 kiloparsec. This nuclear region would be about 100 times brighter optically than the luminous galaxies which have been identified with radio sources thus far. If the optical jet and component A of the radio source are associated with the galaxy, they would be at a distance of 50 kiloparsecs implying a time-scale in excess of 105 years. The total energy radiated in the optical range at constant luminosity would be of the order of 1059 ergs.
Only the detection of irrefutable proper motion or parallax would definitively establish 3C 273 as an object within our Galaxy. At the present time, however, the explanation in terms of an extragalactic origin seems more direct and less objectionable.
— Maarten Schmidt
'3C 273: A Star-like Object with Large Red-Shift', Nature (1963), 197, 1040.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (34)  |  Difficulty (106)  |  Energy (161)  |  Forbidden (8)  |  Galaxy (30)  |  Identification (10)  |  Impossibility (48)  |  Line (31)  |  Luminosity (4)  |  Occurrence (28)  |  Radius (4)  |  Red-Shift (4)  |  Spectrum (20)  |  Star (215)  |  Unprecedented (2)  |  Velocity (12)  |  Wavelength (5)

Quotes by others about Maarten Schmidt (1)

If this plane were to crash, we could get a new start on this quasar problem.
Said to colleagues, dramatically cupping his hand over his brow, shortly after the take-off of a propeller plane leaving Austin, Texas, after the Second Texas Symposium for Relativistic Astrophysics in Dec 1964. Various different theories had been presented at the conference. The flight passengers included many of the major scientists in quasar research, including Margaret and Geoffrey Burbridge, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, John Wheeler and Maarten Schmidt.
As quoted by Arthur I. Miller, Empire of the Stars (2005), 226.
Science quotes on:  |  Airplane (28)  |  Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (5)  |  Crash (6)  |  Quasar (4)  |  Theory (518)  |  John Wheeler (35)

See also:
  • 28 Dec - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Schmidt'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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