Samuel Langley

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Langley, Samuel


Born Aug. 22, 1834, in Roxbury, Mass.; died Feb. 27, 1906, in Aiken, S.C. American astrophysicist.

Langley was appointed director of the Allegheny Observatory in 1867. Beginning in 1887 he was at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. Langley studied the distribution of energy in the solar spectrum and reestablished the solar constant. He invented the bolometer in 1880–81 and used it to measure the intensity of solar radiation. On the basis of these measurements, Langley compiled an atlas in 1901 of the infrared part of the solar spectrum.


Abbot, C. G. Samuel Pierpont Langley. Washington, D. C., 1934. (Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, vol. 92, no. 8, publication 3281.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The highly paid Samuel Pierpont Langley, director of the Smithsonian Institute, and Otto Lilienthal of Germany, both respected experts on flight, were the sources of information for the Wrights.
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Samuel Pierpont Langley was professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory, where he had invented instruments for measuring solar radiation.