After finishing his secondary education at Örebro högre allmänna läroverk, Lindblad matriculated at Uppsala University in 1914. He received his filosofie magister degree in 1917, his filosofie licentiat degree in 1918 and completed his doctorate and became a docent at the university in 1920. From 1927 he was professor and astronomer of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and head of the Stockholm Observatory.
Lindblad studied the theory of the rotation of galaxies.
Having considered Jacobus KapteynÂ’s work on moving stellar streams and Howard ShapleyÂ’s proposal that the center of the Milky Way Galaxy lay tens of thousands of light-years away, he put forward the differential rotation theory – namely, that the speed of rotation of stars about the galactic center depends on their distance.
Soon after, in 1927, Jan OortÂ’s observations of stellar motion provided support for LindbladÂ’s views, which inspired a number of Swedish astronomers, including LindbladÂ’s son, Per Olaf (1927-), to specialize in the movements of stars.
Lindblad also helped demonstrate the spiral nature of the Galaxy and, in the 1940s, put forward the density wave theory to explain spiral structure.
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