Edwin Powell Hubble


created by: Travis Denardo


Edwin Hubble lived from November 20, 1889-September 28, 1953. He was born in Marshfield, Missouri during a visit to his grandparents. He liked to read many books, such as novels by Jules Verne. His father was affiliated with an insurance company, he had his office in Chicago and settled his family in suburban Wheaton.

Edwin earned his first money as a delivery boy for the morning paper in Wheaton. In high school, he participated in athletics. Football was his favorite game, he also entered in many track events. On his high school commencement day in 1906, the principal said, "Edwin Hubble, I have watched for four years and I have never seen you study for ten minutes." He then paused and continued, "Here is a scholarship to the University of Chicago."

By mistake, the scholarship was also awarded to another student, thus the money had to be halved. Hubble had to pay his expenses by tutoring, by working summer jobs, and by working as a laboratory assistant to Robert Millikan. By helping Millikan, Hubble received a scholarship in physics.

In 1910, Hubble received his B.S. degree from the University of Chicago. Hubble was also awarded the Rhodes Scholarship in the same year, under which he studied Roman and English Law at Queens College, Oxford. He was made an Honorary Fellow of Queen's College. He returned to the US in 1013, passed the bar exam on September 2 and began to practice law halfheartedly for a year in Louisville, Kentucky. During this time he was said to have "chucked the law for was astronomy that mattered." In 1914 he returned to the University of Chicago for postgraduate work leading to his doctoral degree in astronomy.

Hubble was now off to war. He was commissioned a captain in the 343rd Infantry, 86th division and later became a major. He was shipped off to France where he served as a field and line officer. He returned to the US in 1919 and immediately went to Pasadena, California, Mount Wilson Observatory. Hubble had been offered by Hale to join the staff of the Mount Wilson Observatory. He worked at the Mount Wilson Observatory until the summer of 1942, when he left to do war work at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. He was awarded the Medal of Merit in 1946 for his valuable service to his country.

After WWII, Hubble returned to his position at the Mount Wilson Observatory where his research had been carried out between the two world wars. This research provided strong evidence of the need for a telescope larger than the 100-inch reflector. He had assisted greatly in the design of the 200-inch Hale telescope. Hubble said "that with the 200-inch, we may grasp what now we can scarcely brush with our fingertips. We hope to find something we hadn't expected."

Edwin Hubble continued his research at the Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories, where he was active until his death, from a cerebral thrombosis, September 28, 1953.


Demonstration of Hubble's Law


NASA Website

Mount Wilson Observatory

George Ellery Hale (Hubble's collegue)

Project Website


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