By Simon Olling Rebsdorf
Danish astronomy in the 20th Century can be typified as the “Strömgren Century” since two generations of Strömgrens dominated the field for much of that time. First Elis and then Bengt Strömgren occupied the coveted directorship at Copenhagen Observatory, and both held highly influential positions within international circles. Elis was devoted to classical astronomy whereas Bengt, stimulated by the quantum revolution then happening in Copenhagen, deftly combined observatory practice with the power of this newest of the new astronomies. This monograph, largely a collective biography, explores the father-son relationship that shaped much of astronomical culture in Denmark. It also contrasts Danish astronomy to American astronomy, since Bengt spent over sixteen years in the United States at the University of Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory, and then at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, where he took over Albert Einsteins office. This book will be of great interest to anyone interested in the development of modern astrophysics in Europe and America in the 20th Century. (by David DeVorkin, the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution).