Today, most people know of Edwin Hubble because of the Hubble Telescope. This is a large space telescope that was launched into orbit around the Earth in 1990 and still functions today. In order to understand why this revolutionary device was named after this scientist, it’s helpful to consider some Edwin Hubble greatest discoveries.
First, it might be helpful to get a picture of who this famous scientist was as a man. Dr. Hubble worked as a scientist during the early part of the 1900s. Before he started his career, he served the USA during WWI as a soldier even though he had already been invited to take a scientific position.
It’s also interesting to note that he left his position during WWII to serve his country again, and he earned the US Medal of Merit for his service during WWII. He was both a scientist and a very patriotic American. It’s helpful to understand this to see why he was honored by naming the revolutionary telescope after him.
Dr. Edwin Hubble’s Scientific Career
Before discussing the scientists great discoveries, it’s important to discuss his overall career as well. Hubble began his work at the Mt. Wilson Observatory in the 1920s. This observatory had the biggest telescopes in the world at that time. These were the 100- and 60-inch Hooker reflectors.
He died in 1953. Before he died, he was in charge of constructing a 200-inch telescope. This giant telescope is the Hale Telescope, located on Palomar Mountain. It would retain the honor of being the biggest telescope in the world until the Russians built the BTA-6 in the 1970s.
Dr. Edwin Hubble Greatest Discoveries
During the time that Dr. Hubble worked at Mt. Wilson, he demonstrated that the distant and faint clouds of light in the night sky were actually what scientists could see of other galaxies that were far away. Before that, they were just thought of as some sort of clouds of dust, called nebulae. They were just so far away that scientists didn’t understand that they were made up of suns and planets like our own.
The idea that our own galaxy, called the Milky Way, was just one of many galaxies was very revolutionary in those days. This discovery sparked the idea that the universe was a lot bigger than had previous been thought.
Not only was the universe huge, it was constantly getting bigger. Besides just discovering other galaxies, Hubble also learned more about the nature of all galaxies. For example, he figured out that galaxies that were the furthest away from our planet appeared to travel away from Earth the quickest.
He used this information to come up with the idea that the universe was expanding. This led to the Big Bang theory, the most common idea of the universe’s origins with scientists. In other words, the universe originated as a single point and a burst of energy. Ever since, it has been expanding.
Dr. Hubble Never Got A Nobel Prize
Despite the way that this scientist revolutionized knowledge and the technology to gain that knowledge, he never got a Nobel Prize. This was because they didn’t have an astronomy category before his death and not because he wasn’t recognized.
After Dr. Hubble passed away, the Nobel Prize for astronomy was created. However, they don’t award the prize after death, so this scientist was never recognized in this way.
He did earn many other scientific awards. Some examples are Franklin Medal and Bruce Medal. He also had a postage stamp made in his honor by the US government. Besides the space telescope, scientists have named other things after him too. These include an asteroid, a crater on the moon, and even a highway!
How Dr. Edwin Hubble Greatest Discoveries Still Impact Us
Many of the things that Dr. Hubble discovered may seem like things that any child knows today. It’s hard to believe that they were only discovered within the last century. Besides working as a productive scientist, Hubble also served his country in two wars and helped improve the technology that scientists could use. In this way, his work still helps advance human knowledge. That’s why he is so honored today.