John Campbell

(1889-1955) Mathematics Professor at U of Alberta; founder of the Edmonton Centre; Society President (1947-48).

JOHN W. CAMPBELL (1889-1955) was born in Scotch Block, Ontario, attended Queen's University in Kingston and then obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1915 with a thesis on the three-body problem. Following this, he taught at Wesley College, Winnipeg, and joined the RASC Centre there. He then served with the Artillery in the First World War and was an instructor in Khaki College. After a short term at the University of Iowa, he accepted a position in the Mathematics Department at the University of Alberta in 1920, where he made his career, until retiring as Head of the Department in 1954. His text-book An Introduction to Mechanics was quite widely used and his contributions to his field were recognized by his election to the Royal Society of Canada. Though Dr. Campbell's work was largely mathematical, he did develop his professional interest in astronomy, working during the summers of 1922 and '23 on spectroscopic binary orbits at the DAO. He also taught a general astronomy course at the University of Alberta for over 30 years.

Campbell was the founder and first President of the Edmonton Centre, and their Honorary President from 1934 until his death. His successor in many respects, E.S. Keeping, wrote of Campbell's "great delight in showing visitors the beauties of the night sky" and his weekly notes on the night sky in The Edmonton Journal. Scarcely a year passed when Campbell did not speak to the Centre or give his popular "Handbook Talks" at meetings. From 1945-48 he served the national Society as Vice-President and President.

Peter Broughton (from Looking Up)

Further Reading

John Campbell is also mentioned in Arthur C. Clarke's essay "The Problem of Dr. Campbell." —WM

Campbell, John W.