Charles Greeley Abbot Biography
Birthday: May 31, 1872 (Gemini)
Born In: Wilton
Charles Greeley Abbot was an American astrophysicist, best known for his research in the field of solar energy. His talent was evident from a young age; he built and invented numerous things, such as a forge to fix tools, a water wheel to power a saw, and a bicycle. After completing his education, he was hired as an assistant by the famous physicist, Samuel Langley, at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Under his guidance, he started his research work on solar radiations and gradually established the now-recognized value of the solar constant. He eventually took charge of both, the observatory and the institution, and went from being director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, to becoming Assistant Secretary, and then the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution over the course of his career. He also worked on the effects of solar activity on terrestrial weather patterns and designed some of the earliest solar-powered heaters and cookers as a visual aide for his lectures. He was the fifth Smithsonian Secretary and the first one to retire from his post after a long and successful career. Being an astrophysicist, he was involved in a lifelong project to establish the fact that the Sun’s energy output varies and it has a measurable effect on the Earth’s weather. Among his several successful contributions, the most famous one is undoubtedly his research on the solar constant, a research that led him towards the development of numerous patented solar energy devices.