William Alfred Fowler
|Died||March 14, 1995 (aged 83)|
|Other names||Willy Fowler|
|Alma mater||Caltech (PhD)|
|Awards||Barnard Medal for Meritorious Service to Science (1965)|
Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics (1970)
Vetlesen Prize (1973)
National Medal of Science (1974)
Eddington Medal (1978)
Nobel Prize in Physics (1983)
|Doctoral advisor||Charles Christian Lauritsen|
|Doctoral students||J. Richard Bond, Donald Clayton, F. Curtis Michel|
William Alfred Fowler (August 9, 1911 – March 14, 1995) was an American nuclear physicist, later astrophysicist, who, with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar won the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physics. He is known for his theoretical and experimental research into nuclear reactions within stars and the energy elements produced in the process.
The family moved to Lima, Ohio, a steam railroad town, when Fowler was two years old. Growing up near the Pennsylvania Railway Yard influenced Fowler's interest in locomotives. Later in 1973, he would travel to the USSR just to observe the steam engine that powered the Trans Siberian Railway plying the nearly 2,500-kilometer route that connects Khabarovsk and Moscow.
In 1933, Fowler graduated from the Ohio State University, where he was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. In 1936, Fowler received a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.
In 1936, Fowler became a research fellow at Caltech. In 1939, Fowler became an assistant professor at Caltech. 
Although an experimental nuclear physicist, Fowler's most famous paper was "Synthesis of the Elements in Stars", coauthored with Cambridge cosmologist Fred Hoyle and in collaboration with two young Cambridge astronomers, E. Margaret Burbidge and Geoffrey Burbidge. That 1957 paper in Reviews of Modern Physics categorized most nuclear processes for origin of all but the lightest chemical elements in stars. It is widely known as the B2FH paper.
In 1942, Fowler became an associate professor at Caltech. In 1946, Fowler became a Professor at Caltech. 
Fowler succeeded Charles Lauritsen as director of the Kellogg Radiation Laboratory at Caltech, and was himself later succeeded by Steven E. Koonin. Fowler was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Gerald Ford.
Fowler won the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society in 1963, the Vetlesen Prize in 1973, the Eddington Medal in 1978, the Bruce Medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 1979, and the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his theoretical and experimental studies of the nuclear reactions of importance in the formation of the chemical elements in the universe (shared with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar).
Fowler was the doctoral advisor at Caltech for Donald D. Clayton, who became the leader of the next generation of nuclear astrophysics and who in 2000 was elected Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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