Adams, Walter (Sydney)(1876–1956) astronomer; born in Antioch, Syria. Born to American missionary parents, he studied at Dartmouth College and then worked under George Hale at Yerkes Observatory at the University of Chicago (1900–04). He accompanied Hale to California and helped set up the Mt. Wilson Observatory, becoming its director on Hale's retirement (1923–46); after that he helped design the 200-inch telescope for Mt. Palomar Observatory in California. His own contributions came about from his mastery of mathematics and spectroscopy; his method of spectroscopic parallaxes allowed the determination of stellar luminosities and the distance between stars.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.