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Babcock, Harold Delos

Born Edgerton, Wisconsin, USA, 24 January 1882

Died Pasadena, California, USA, 8 April 1965

American laboratory and stellar spectroscopist Harold D. Babcock produced very high‐quality ruled gratings for spectrometers and used them (in collaboration with his son, Horace Babcock ) to map out the magnetic fields of the Sun and stars with great precision. Babcock was the son of the owner of a general store and received his early education in the public schools of Wisconsin. He completed an additional 4 years of secondary school in Los Angeles after the family moved there in 1896, acquiring a good grounding in science, languages, and the arts. It was during this time that he also began private experimental work, particularly radio, and developed a fascination that led to his enrolling in electrical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley in 1901. Babcock quickly decided, however, that his principal interests lay in physics - especially spectroscopy