The Man Who Named the Second Element
May 17th 2011 marks the 175th birthday of Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer. Born in 1836, Lockyer was a prolific writer in the field of astronomy, his interest was especially drawn towards studying the sun and to this end he travelled and led expeditions to many solar eclipses.
Inspired by the work on spectroscopy by Bunsen and Kirchhoff, Lockyer became interested in spectral studies and identified a spectral line observed in the 1868 eclipse as being an unknown element. Lockyer named this element, Helium from Helios the Greek for Sun. His theory was later confirmed when William Ramsay went on to isolate the terrestrial element in 1895.
Nature (First Edition)
The RSC library holds the complete run of the journal Nature from its first issue in 1869 to the very latest. The archive also holds a copy of Lockyer's book Studies in Spectrum Analysis and some letters written by Lockyer to Henry Roscoe c. 1878.
Lockyer, J.N. 1878, Studies in spectrum analysis, Kegan Paul, London (RSC Item ID: HC3484)
Norman Lockyer Observatory
The observatory established in 1912 by Sir Norman Lockyer.
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