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Carlyle Smith Beals


Born:              29 June, 1899, Canso, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia

Died:              2 July 1979, Ottawa, Ontario

Field:             Astronomy



Carlyle S. Beals (1899-1979) served as the assistant director of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, and later as the Dominion Astronomer in Ottawa. His research focussed on the study of spectrum emission lines of hot stars, as well as the nature of gas clouds in interstellar space. He also pursued an interest in geophysics, investigating and identifying ancient meteorite craters.

Carlyle Beals was born in 1899 at Canso, Nova Scotia. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1919 from Acadia University in Wolfville, and he enrolled in doctoral studies in 1921 at Yale University in the United States, but his failing health prevented him from pursuing this goal. He enrolled instead at the University of Toronto and obtained his Master’s degree in 1923. He then taught for one year at a school, and enrolled in the University of London, England, in 1922. Four years later he obtained his doctoral degree in physics.

Beals retired in 1964 and died in 1979 in Ottawa at the age of 80. He received many awards for his work in astronomy, geophysics and administration, including the Order of Canada. Asteroid 3314 and a lunar crater were named in his honour. In 1981, the Astronomical Society of Canada created the Carlyle S. Beals Award, given every two years to a Canadian astronomer, or an astronomer working in Canada, in recognition of their outstanding achievement in research.

Dr. Beals had a long and distinguished career in astronomy, holding a B.A. degree from Acadia University, an M.A. from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. and D.Sc. from London University. Dr. Beals also received the honorary degree of D.Sc. from Acadia University, University of New Brunswick, Queen’s University, and the University of Pittsburgh. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and was President of Section III of the latter. He also served as President of the American Astronomical Society and as President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. After one year as a professor at Acadia University, Dr. Beals joined the staff of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in 1927. He was appointed Dominion Astronomer, Ottawa, in 1947, a position from which he retired in 1964.

Related Links:

Canadian Astronomical Society

Order of Canada