Arthur Nelson Cox


Honorary Degree (1973)
Doctor of Science
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: John W. Ryan


Arthur N. Cox was born in Van Nuys, California. Following receipt of a B.S. in Physics from California Institute of Technology, he came to Indiana University in the fall of 1948 as a graduate student in Astronomy. He was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship in 1952-53, one of three in the entire country in Astronomy. His Ph.D., awarded at the June 1953 commencement, was the first to be given following the gift of the Goethe Link Observatory to Indiana University in 1948. This 1973 commencement is the 25th anniversary of the Link gift and the 20th anniversary of Dr. Cox's degree.

Dr. Cox joined the scientific staff of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in 1955 following his graduate studies and has remained there except for sabbatical periods including one at the University of Liege. He has been instrumental in introducing and nuturing astrophysical research at Los Alamos while maintaining a role of leadership in the programmatic activities of that laboratory. While he has served on numerous policy-making groups with the laboratory and the Atomic Energy Commission, he also has carried out astrophysical research of prime importance to the astronomical community. The contributions of Dr. Cox and his group to the calculation of stellar opacities are recognized internationally and his results are vital in the study of stellar evolution for many astrophysicists. His results are considered as among the best available and his papers in the field serve as definitive reviews. Dr. Cox is a member of several professional societies and is currently a member of the organizing committee of Commission 35 (Stellar Constitution) of the International Astronomical Union.
With various colleagues Dr. Cox has also pioneered research on pulsating stars. The results of these studies continue to be of major importance in the understanding of such stars.

Dr. Cox has organized and led several high-altitude research flights to study the sun at the time of eclipse. Such efforts require great perseverance, patience, and skill because of the technical difficulties surrounding such flights and the need to coordinate the activities of several research and technical groups, often on an international scale. The research results of these flights speak for his abilities.

Finally, Dr. Cox has made it possible for many young astronomers to gain experience and to carry out their research more successfully by his cooperation with various universities. A number of astronomers owe much of their progress and background to his generous help.