William Alfred Fowler

William Alfred Fowler was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1911.

His grandfather was a coal miner who emigrated to Pittsburgh from Scotland. He was educated at Ohio State University in engineering physics. While attending college, he worked as a recreation director, a waiter and dishwasher, and a ham and cheese salesman, to help pay his expenses.

He studied for his Master’s and Doctorate at Caltech, at the W.K. Kellogg Radiation Laboratory, and remained to work there in patnerships with some of the renowned physicists of the twentieth century. His collaborative work on nucleosynthesis in stars was published in 1957 and is one of the cornerstones of modern astrophysics.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 jointly with Subramanyan Chandrasekhar. He also held five honorary degrees and received numerous and varied awards. He died in 1995.