Edwin Hubble

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Edwin Powell Hubble (November 20, 1889 – September 28, 1953) was an American astronomer who profoundly changed our understanding of the universe by demonstrating the existence of galaxies other than our own, the Milky Way. He also discovered that the degree of "Doppler shift" (specifically "redshift") observed in the light spectra from other galaxies increased in proportion to a particular galaxy's distance from Earth. This relationship became known as Hubble's law, and helped establish that the universe is expanding. Hubble has sometimes been incorrectly credited with discovering the Doppler shift in the spectra of galaxies, but this had already been observed earlier by Vesto Slipher, whose data Hubble used.



Edwin Hubble was born to an insurance executive, John Powell Hubble and Virginia Lee James, in Marshfield, Missouri, and moved to Wheaton, Illinois, in 1889. In his younger days he was noted more for his athletic prowess than his intellectual abilities, although he did earn good grades in every subject except for spelling. He won seven first places and a third place in a single high school track & field meet in 1906. That year he also set the state high school record for the high jump in Illinois. Another of his personal interests was dry-fly fishing, and he practiced amateur boxing as well.[1]

His studies at the University of Chicago concentrated on mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy, which led to a bachelor of science in 1910. Hubble also became a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity (and in 1948 was named the Kappa Sigma "Man of the Year"). He spent the three years after earning his bachelors as one of Oxford University's first Rhodes Scholars, studying jurisprudence initially, then switching his major to Spanish and earning his master's degree in that field.[citation needed] Some of his acquired British mannerisms and dress stayed with him all his life, occasionally irritating his American colleagues.

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