Alumni Hall of Fame

Henry A. Rowland
Henry A. Rowland
Inducted October 1999

Henry A. Rowland

Class of 1870
Physicist
1848-1901

Henry Rowland was pronounced “the foremost scientist America has yet produced” by the president of the National Academy of Sciences in 1924.

The first professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University, he is best remembered for the invention and ruling of concave spectral grating, an instrument of unprecedented precision and ease of use.

At the Paris Exposition of 1890 he won grand prize for spectral grating and revision of the solar spectrum.

He worked in both mathematical and experimental physics and had significant success in precise measurements of physical constants. He designed many types of measuring instruments, several of which were adopted for commercial use.

Rowland’s contributions to experimental physics were enhanced by his understanding of practical mechanics, his mathematical aptitude, and his manual dexterity.