Wood, Robert Williams, 1868–1955, American physicist, b. Concord, Mass., grad. Harvard (B.A., 1891). After studying abroad he became associated with Johns Hopkins as professor of experimental physics in 1901, professor emeritus in 1938, and later research professor. Internationally known for his work in optics and spectroscopy, he made important researches in resonance radiation and in the use of absorption screens in astronomical photography and devised a vastly improved diffraction grating. He also developed a color-photography process, originated the method of thawing street mains by passing an electric current through them, and studied the biological and physiological effects of high-frequency sound waves. He wrote Physical Optics (1905) and Researches in Physical Optics (2 parts, 1913–19). Wood was also the author of The Man Who Rocked the Earth (with Arthur Train, 1915) and nonsense verse, How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers (rev. ed. 1917).
See biography by W. Seabrook (1941).