James Chadwick

  • From:

    Gonville and Caius College | Cambridge, United Kingdom

  • Year:

    1951

  • Subject:

    Physics

  • Award:

    Franklin

  • Citation:

    For the identification of the neutron as part of the nucleus of the atom.

James Chadwick was born in Cheshire, England, in 1891. He studied at Manchester University, graduating from the Honours School of Physics in 1911 and obtained his M.Sc. degree in 1913. While at Manchester, he he worked on various radioactivity problems. He continued his studies in Berlin to work in the Physikalisch Technische Reichsanstalt at Charlottenburg under Professor H. Geiger. He later returned to England and was granted the Wollaston Scholarship at Gonville and Cains College in Cambridge, where he resumed working on atomic studies.

In 1932, Chadwick made a fundamental discovery in the domain of nuclear science: he proved the existence of neutrons - elementary particles devoid of any electrical charge. This discovery contributed to the successful controlled fissioning of Uranium-235, and eventually to the development of the atomic bomb. Fo this discovery he was awarded the Hughes Medal of the Royal Society in 1932, and the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1935.

Chadwick remained at Cambridge until 1935 when he was elected to the Lyon Jones Chair of Physics in the University of Liverpool. From 1943 to 1946 he worked in the United States as Head of the British Mission attached to the Manhattan Project for the development of the atomic bomb. He returned to England and, in 1948, retired from active physics and his position at Liverpool on his election as Master of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He retired from this Mastership in 1959.

Information as of 1951