Portrait of Samuel Langley

Portrait of Samuel Langley

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Portrait of Samuel Pierpont Langley (1834-1906), American astronomer and aviation pioneer. Langley had no formal education, and taught himself about engineering and astronomy. In the latter field he was a pioneer of infrared astronomy. He invented a device consisting of a thin, blackened platinum wire linked to a galvanometer and a spectrometer. This 'bolometer' allowed very precise measurement of solar radiation at different wavelengths, including infrared. Langley was also a pioneer aviator. His first scale models flew in 1896. Powered by steam, they flew for up to 1200 metres. Larger, manned, versions failed to fly, he went on to design many later successful aircraft.

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Keywords: aviation pioneer, aviators, bolometer, infrared astronomy, inventor of, langley, pioneer, portraits, samuel p, surname l

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