US physicist and astronomer whose work on the spectrum of the solar chromosphere revolutionized much of solar astronomy. He was one of the first scientists to combine astronomy with atomic physics.
Menzel was born in Florence, Colorado, and studied at the University
of Denver. At Princeton University as a graduate assistant, he learned
astrophysics from Henry Russell, the co-originator of the Hertzsprung-Russell
diagram. In 1932, Menzel joined Harvard University Observatory, where
he was to become director some 30 years later. The coronagraph he constructed
there was the beginning of High Altitude Observatory for solar physics
research. During his career Menzel took part in the setting-up or development
of several observatories in the USA. He retired from Harvard 1971 to
become scientific director of a company manufacturing antennae for communications
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