Walter Davis Lambert, Chief, Section of Gravity
and Astronomy, retired March 31, 1947, after more than 40 years’
service. In addition to his duties with the Survey, Mr. Lambert
is president of the International Association of Geodesy, and
is recognized as an outstanding authority in geodesy, both in
this country and abroad.
Mr. Lambert was born in West New Brighton,
New York. He received his bachelor’s and master’s
degrees from Harvard University and later studied at the University
of Pennsylvania. He spent 6 years in teaching mathematics and
astronomy at the following universities: Purdue, Maine and Pennsylvania.
He served two years as first lieutenant with the Engineers,
U.S. Army in World War I.
Mr. Lambert is a member of the Philosophical
Society of Washington, American Geophysical Union, American
Mathematical Society, Washington Academy of Sciences, Phi Beta
Kappa, Sigma Xi and others. He has held the presidency, chairmanship
or vice-presidency in several of the above organizations.
Mr. Lambert received the honor of being elected
Harrison Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Recently
he was elected to the Paris Academy of Sciences. He has made
numerous original contributions to the science of geodesy, particularly
earth tides, latitude variation, and figure of the earth in
general. His contributions have been printed as special publications
of this Bureau and in many scientific journals. He also wrote
the chapter on latitude variation in the Handbuch der Geophysik
and the section of “Geodesy” in Encyclopedia Brittanica.
At an informal gathering in the office of the
Chief of the Division, Mr. Lambert was greeted by his associates
and presented with a traveling bag as a token of their respect
for him as a co-worker. Mr. Lambert’s pleasant personality
and willingness to cooperate on all matters, whether it involved
a highly technical problem or answering some of the many odd
letters that the Bureau received, made him a popular person.
He has hosts of friends, both here and abroad, and his reputation
as a scientist and scholar have done much for the Bureau. He
will be greatly missed by his co-workers, and the Buzzard joins
in their wishes for a happy life of leisure.
“The Buzzard,” Vol. 15, No. 13, pp. 7-8. April 3,
Note: Walter Lambert was much more influential than this modest
account indicates. As indicated above, he was President of the
IAG from 1946-1951 and elected a member of the Paris Academy
of Sciences. He was elected a member of the United States National
Academy of Sciences in 1949 and received a Department of Commerce
exceptional service medal (gold medal) the same year.