Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Leavitt Law Revisited

In November 2008, Harvard hosted a symposium to honor the 100th anniversary of Henrietta Leavitt's first presentation on her observations of the period-luminosity relationship seen in Cepheid stars. 

Just a few months later, the AAS Executive Council agreed that this important relation should now be designated as the “Leavitt Law" and  used widely.

I had never heard of this new phrasing until I read Dava Sobel's 2016 book The Glass Universe. I immediately changed my course and lecture notes to reflect this new language. Give credit where credit is due, is a good philosophy to have!

So, to my colleagues I suggest that summer is a great time to update your course and lab notes, worksheets, exams/quizzes, homework assignments, etc., replacing any phrasing related to "period-luminosity relationship" with "the Leavitt Law".  Even better, grab some images and information from the talks posted on the symposium website!