The Info List - J. J. Thomson

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Sir Joseph John Thomson OM PRS[1] (/ˈtɒmsən/; 18 December 1856 – 30 August 1940) was an English physicist and Nobel Laureate in Physics, credited with the discovery and identification of the electron; and with the discovery of the first subatomic particle. In 1897, Thomson showed that cathode rays were composed of previously unknown negatively charged particles, which he calculated must have bodies much smaller than atoms and a very large value for their charge-to-mass ratio.[2] Thomson is also credited with finding the first evidence for isotopes of a stable (non-radioactive) element in 1913, as part of his exploration into the composition of canal rays (positive ions). His experiments to determine the nature of positively charged particles, with Francis William Aston, were the first use of mass spectrometry and led to the development of the mass spectrograph.[2] Thomson was awarded the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
for his work on the conduction of electricity in gases.[3]


1 Education and personal life 2 Career and research

2.1 Overview 2.2 Early work 2.3 Discovery of the electron 2.4 Isotopes
and mass spectrometry 2.5 Experiments with cathode rays

2.5.1 Magnetic deflection 2.5.2 Electrical charge 2.5.3 Electrical deflection 2.5.4 Measurement of mass-to-charge ratio 2.5.5 Conclusions

2.6 Other work 2.7 Awards and honours

2.7.1 Posthumous honours

3 References 4 Bibliography 5 External links

Education and personal life[edit] Joseph John Thomson was born 18 December 1856 in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, Lancashire, England. His mother, Emma Swindells, came from a local textile family. His father, Joseph James Thomson, ran an antiquarian bookshop founded by a great-grandfather. He had a brother, Frederick Vernon Thomson, who was two years younger than he was.[4] J. J. Thomson was a reserved yet devout Anglican.[5][6][7] His early education was in small private schools where he demonstrated outstanding talent and interest in science. In 1870 he was admitted to Owens College
Owens College
in Manchester
(now University of Manchester) at the unusually young age of 14. His parents planned to enroll him as an apprentice engineer to Sharp-Stewart & Co, a locomotive manufacturer, but these plans were cut short when his father died in 1873.[4] He moved on to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1876. In 1880 he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics (Second Wrangler in the Tripos[8] and 2nd Smith's Prize).[9] He applied for and became a Fellow of Trinity College in 1881.[10] Thomson received his Master of Arts degree (with Adams Prize) in 1883.[9] In 1890, Thomson married Rose Elisabeth Paget, one of his former students,[11] daughter of Sir George Edward Paget, KCB, a physician and then Regius Professor of Physic at Cambridge
at the church of St. Mary the Less. They had one son, George Paget Thomson, and one daughter, Joan Paget Thomson. Career and research[edit] Overview[edit] On 22 December 1884 Thomson was appointed Cavendish Professor of Physics
at the University of Cambridge.[2] The appointment caused considerable surprise, given that candidates such as Osborne Reynolds or Richard Glazebrook were older and more experienced in laboratory work. Thomson was known for his work as a mathematician, where he was recognized as an exceptional talent.[12] He was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1906, "in recognition of the great merits of his theoretical and experimental investigations on the conduction of electricity by gases." He was knighted in 1908 and appointed to the Order of Merit in 1912. In 1914 he gave the Romanes Lecture in Oxford on "The atomic theory". In 1918 he became Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he remained until his death. Joseph John Thomson died on 30 August 1940; his ashes rest in Westminster Abbey, near the graves of Sir Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
and his former student, Ernest Rutherford.[13] One of Thomson's greatest contributions to modern science was in his role as a highly gifted teacher. One of his students was Ernest Rutherford, who later succeeded him as Cavendish Professor of Physics. In addition to Thomson himself, six of his research assistants (Charles Glover Barkla, Niels Bohr, Max Born, William Henry Bragg, Owen Willans Richardson
Owen Willans Richardson
and Charles Thomson Rees Wilson) won Nobel Prizes in physics, and two ( Francis William Aston
Francis William Aston
and Ernest Rutherford) won Nobel prizes in chemistry. In addition, Thomson's son (George Paget Thomson) won the 1937 Nobel Prize in physics for proving the wave-like properties of electrons. Early work[edit] Thomson's prize-winning master's work, Treatise on the motion of vortex rings, shows his early interest in atomic structure.[3] In it, Thomson mathematically described the motions of William Thomson's vortex theory of atoms.[12] Thomson published a number of papers addressing both mathematical and experimental issues of electromagnetism. He examined the electromagnetic theory of light of James Clerk Maxwell, introduced the concept of electromagnetic mass of a charged particle, and demonstrated that a moving charged body would apparently increase in mass.[12] Much of his work in mathematical modelling of chemical processes can be thought of as early computational chemistry.[2] In further work, published in book form as Applications of dynamics to physics and chemistry (1888), Thomson addressed the transformation of energy in mathematical and theoretical terms, suggesting that all energy might be kinetic.[12] His next book, Notes on recent researches in electricity and magnetism (1893), built upon Maxwell's Treatise upon electricity and magnetism, and was sometimes referred to as "the third volume of Maxwell".[3] In it, Thomson emphasized physical methods and experimentation and included extensive figures and diagrams of apparatus, including a number for the passage of electricity through gases.[12] His third book, Elements of the mathematical theory of electricity and magnetism (1895)[14] was a readable introduction to a wide variety of subjects, and achieved considerable popularity as a textbook.[12] A series of four lectures, given by Thomson on a visit to Princeton University in 1896, were subsequently published as Discharge of electricity through gases (1897). Thomson also presented a series of six lectures at Yale University
Yale University
in 1904.[3] Discovery of the electron[edit] Several scientists, such as William Prout
William Prout
and Norman Lockyer, had suggested that atoms were built up from a more fundamental unit, but they envisioned this unit to be the size of the smallest atom, hydrogen. Thomson in 1897 was the first to suggest that one of the fundamental units was more than 1,000 times smaller than an atom, suggesting the subatomic particle now known as the electron. Thomson discovered this through his explorations on the properties of cathode rays. Thomson made his suggestion on 30 April 1897 following his discovery that cathode rays (at the time known as Lenard rays) could travel much further through air than expected for an atom-sized particle.[15] He estimated the mass of cathode rays by measuring the heat generated when the rays hit a thermal junction and comparing this with the magnetic deflection of the rays. His experiments suggested not only that cathode rays were over 1,000 times lighter than the hydrogen atom, but also that their mass was the same in whichever type of atom they came from. He concluded that the rays were composed of very light, negatively charged particles which were a universal building block of atoms. He called the particles "corpuscles", but later scientists preferred the name electron which had been suggested by George Johnstone Stoney
George Johnstone Stoney
in 1891, prior to Thomson's actual discovery.[16] In April 1897, Thomson had only early indications that the cathode rays could be deflected electrically (previous investigators such as Heinrich Hertz
Heinrich Hertz
had thought they could not be). A month after Thomson's announcement of the corpuscle, he found that he could reliably deflect the rays by an electric field if he evacuated the discharge tube to a very low pressure. By comparing the deflection of a beam of cathode rays by electric and magnetic fields he obtained more robust measurements of the mass-to-charge ratio that confirmed his previous estimates.[17] This became the classic means of measuring the charge and mass of the electron. Thomson believed that the corpuscles emerged from the atoms of the trace gas inside his cathode ray tubes. He thus concluded that atoms were divisible, and that the corpuscles were their building blocks. In 1904 Thomson suggested a model of the atom, hypothesizing that it was a sphere of positive matter within which electrostatic forces determined the positioning of the corpuscles.[2] To explain the overall neutral charge of the atom, he proposed that the corpuscles were distributed in a uniform sea of positive charge. In this "plum pudding" model the electrons were seen as embedded in the positive charge like plums in a plum pudding (although in Thomson's model they were not stationary, but orbiting rapidly).[18][19] Isotopes
and mass spectrometry[edit]

In the bottom right corner of this photographic plate are markings for the two isotopes of neon: neon-20 and neon-22.

In 1912, as part of his exploration into the composition of the streams of positively charged particles then known as canal rays, Thomson and his research assistant F. W. Aston channelled a stream of neon ions through a magnetic and an electric field and measured its deflection by placing a photographic plate in its path.[4] They observed two patches of light on the photographic plate (see image on right), which suggested two different parabolas of deflection, and concluded that neon is composed of atoms of two different atomic masses (neon-20 and neon-22), that is to say of two isotopes.[20][21] This was the first evidence for isotopes of a stable element; Frederick Soddy
Frederick Soddy
had previously proposed the existence of isotopes to explain the decay of certain radioactive elements. J.J. Thomson's separation of neon isotopes by their mass was the first example of mass spectrometry, which was subsequently improved and developed into a general method by F. W. Aston and by A. J. Dempster.[2] Experiments with cathode rays[edit] Earlier, physicists debated whether cathode rays were immaterial like light ("some process in the aether") or were "in fact wholly material, and ... mark the paths of particles of matter charged with negative electricity", quoting Thomson.[17] The aetherial hypothesis was vague,[17] but the particle hypothesis was definite enough for Thomson to test. Magnetic deflection[edit] Thomson first investigated the magnetic deflection of cathode rays. Cathode rays were produced in the side tube on the left of the apparatus and passed through the anode into the main bell jar, where they were deflected by a magnet. Thomson detected their path by the fluorescence on a squared screen in the jar. He found that whatever the material of the anode and the gas in the jar, the deflection of the rays was the same, suggesting that the rays were of the same form whatever their origin.[22] Electrical charge[edit]

The cathode ray tube by which J.J. Thomson demonstrated that cathode rays could be deflected by a magnetic field, and that their negative charge was not a separate phenomenon.

While supporters of the aetherial theory accepted the possibility that negatively charged particles are produced in Crookes tubes,[citation needed] they believed that they are a mere by-product and that the cathode rays themselves are immaterial.[citation needed] Thomson set out to investigate whether or not he could actually separate the charge from the rays. Thomson constructed a Crookes tube
Crookes tube
with an electrometer set to one side, out of the direct path of the cathode rays. Thomson could trace the path of the ray by observing the phosphorescent patch it created where it hit the surface of the tube. Thomson observed that the electrometer registered a charge only when he deflected the cathode ray to it with a magnet. He concluded that the negative charge and the rays were one and the same.[15]

Electrical deflection[edit]

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Thomson's illustration of the Crookes tube
Crookes tube
by which he observed the deflection of cathode rays by an electric field (and later measured their mass-to-charge ratio). Cathode rays were emitted from the cathode C, passed through slits A (the anode) and B (grounded), then through the electric field generated between plates D and E, finally impacting the surface at the far end.

The cathode ray (blue line) was deflected by the electric field (yellow).

In May–June 1897, Thomson investigated whether or not the rays could be deflected by an electric field.[4] Previous experimenters had failed to observe this, but Thomson believed their experiments were flawed because their tubes contained too much gas. Thomson constructed a Crookes tube
Crookes tube
with a better vacuum. At the start of the tube was the cathode from which the rays projected. The rays were sharpened to a beam by two metal slits – the first of these slits doubled as the anode, the second was connected to the earth. The beam then passed between two parallel aluminium plates, which produced an electric field between them when they were connected to a battery. The end of the tube was a large sphere where the beam would impact on the glass, created a glowing patch. Thomson pasted a scale to the surface of this sphere to measure the deflection of the beam. Note that any electron beam would collide with some residual gas atoms within the Crookes tube, thereby ionizing them and producing electrons and ions in the tube (space charge); in previous experiments this space charge electrically screened the externally applied electric field. However, in Thomson's Crookes tube
Crookes tube
the density of residual atoms was so low that the space charge from the electrons and ions was insufficient to electrically screen the externally applied electric field, which permitted Thomson to successfully observe electrical deflection. When the upper plate was connected to the negative pole of the battery and the lower plate to the positive pole, the glowing patch moved downwards, and when the polarity was reversed, the patch moved upwards.

Measurement of mass-to-charge ratio[edit]

In his classic experiment, Thomson measured the mass-to-charge ratio of the cathode rays by measuring how much they were deflected by a magnetic field and comparing this with the electric deflection. He used the same apparatus as in his previous experiment, but placed the discharge tube between the poles of a large electromagnet. He found that the mass-to-charge ratio was over a thousand times lower than that of a hydrogen ion (H+), suggesting either that the particles were very light and/or very highly charged.[17] Significantly, the rays from every cathode yielded the same mass-to-charge ratio. This is in contrast to anode rays (now known to arise from positive ions emitted by the anode), where the mass-to-charge ratio varies from anode-to-anode. Thomson himself remained critical of what his work established, in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech referring to "corpuscles" rather than "electrons". Thomson's calculations can be summarised as follows (notice that we reproduce here Thomson's original notations, using F instead of E for the electric field and H instead of B for the magnetic field): The electric deflection is given by Θ = Fel/mv2 where Θ is the angular electric deflection, F is applied electric intensity, e is the charge of the cathode ray particles, l is the length of the electric plates, m is the mass of the cathode ray particles and v is the velocity of the cathode ray particles. The magnetic deflection is given by φ = Hel/mv where φ is the angular magnetic deflection and H is the applied magnetic field intensity. The magnetic field was varied until the magnetic and electric deflections were the same, when Θ = φ and Fel/mv2= Hel/mv. This can be simplified to give m/e = H2l/FΘ. The electric deflection was measured separately to give Θ and H, F and l were known, so m/e could be calculated.


As the cathode rays carry a charge of negative electricity, are deflected by an electrostatic force as if they were negatively electrified, and are acted on by a magnetic force in just the way in which this force would act on a negatively electrified body moving along the path of these rays, I can see no escape from the conclusion that they are charges of negative electricity carried by particles of matter. — J. J. Thomson[17]

As to the source of these particles, Thomson believed they emerged from the molecules of gas in the vicinity of the cathode.

If, in the very intense electric field in the neighbourhood of the cathode, the molecules of the gas are dissociated and are split up, not into the ordinary chemical atoms, but into these primordial atoms, which we shall for brevity call corpuscles; and if these corpuscles are charged with electricity and projected from the cathode by the electric field, they would behave exactly like the cathode rays. — J. J. Thomson[23]

Thomson imagined the atom as being made up of these corpuscles orbiting in a sea of positive charge; this was his plum pudding model. This model was later proved incorrect when his student Ernest Rutherford showed that the positive charge is concentrated in the nucleus of the atom. Other work[edit] In 1905, Thomson discovered the natural radioactivity of potassium.[24] In 1906, Thomson demonstrated that hydrogen had only a single electron per atom. Previous theories allowed various numbers of electrons.[25][26] Awards and honours[edit]

Plaque commemorating J. J. Thomson's discovery of the electron outside the old Cavendish Laboratory
Cavendish Laboratory
in Cambridge

Thomson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society
Fellow of the Royal Society
(FRS)[1][27] and appointed to the Cavendish Professorship of Experimental Physics
at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge
in 1884.[2] Thomson won numerous awards and honours during his career including:

Adams Prize (1882) Royal Medal
Royal Medal
(1894) Hughes Medal
Hughes Medal
(1902) Hodgkins Medal
Hodgkins Medal
(1902) Nobel Prize for Physics
(1906) Elliott Cresson Medal
Elliott Cresson Medal
(1910) Copley Medal (1914) Franklin Medal
Franklin Medal

Thomson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society[1] on 12 June 1884 and served as President of the Royal Society
President of the Royal Society
from 1915 to 1920. Posthumous honours[edit] In 1991, the thomson (symbol: Th) was proposed as a unit to measure mass-to-charge ratio in mass spectrometry in his honour.[28] J J Thomson Avenue, on the University of Cambridge
campus, is named after Thomson.[29] In November 1927, J.J. Thomson opened the Thomson building, named in his honour, in the Leys School, Cambridge.[30] References[edit]

^ a b c Rayleigh (1941). "Joseph John Thomson. 1856-1940". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. London: Royal Society. 3 (10): 586–609. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1941.0024.  ^ a b c d e f g "Joseph John "J. J." Thomson". Science History Institute. Retrieved 20 March 2018.  ^ a b c d "J.J. Thomson - Biographical". The Nobel Prize in Physics 1906. The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 11 February 2015.  ^ a b c d Davis & Falconer, J.J. Thomson and the Discovery of the Electron ^ Peter J. Bowler, Reconciling Science and Religion: The Debate in Early-Twentieth-Century Britain (2014). University of Chicago Press. p. 35. ISBN 9780226068596. "Both Lord Rayleigh and J. J. Thomson were Anglicans." ^ Seeger, Raymond. 1986. "J. J. Thomson, Anglican," in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 38 (June 1986): 131-132. The Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation. ""As a Professor, J.J. Thomson did attend the Sunday evening college chapel service, and as Master, the morning service. He was a regular communicant in the Anglican Church. In addition, he showed an active interest in the Trinity Mission at Camberwell. With respect to his private devotional life, J.J. Thomson would invariably practice kneeling for daily prayer, and read his Bible before retiring each night. He truly was a practicing Christian!" ( Raymond Seeger 1986, 132)." ^ Richardson, Owen. 1970. "Joseph J. Thomson," in The Dictionary of National Biography, 1931-1940. L. G. Wickham Legg - editor. Oxford University Press. ^ Grayson, Mike. "The Early Life of J.J. Thomson: Computational Chemistry and Gas Discharge Experiments". Profiles in Chemistry. Chemical Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 11 February 2015.  ^ a b "Thomson, Joseph John (THN876JJ)". A Cambridge
Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.  ^ The Victoria University Calendar for the Session 1881-2. 1882. p. 184. Retrieved 11 February 2015. [ISBN missing] ^ The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: L-Z by By Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie and Joy Dorothy Harvey, Taylor & Francis, p.972 ^ a b c d e f Kim, Dong-Won (2002). Leadership and creativity : a history of the Cavendish Laboratory, 1871 - 1919. Dordrecht: Kluwer Acad. Publ. ISBN 9781402004759. Retrieved 11 February 2015.  ^ Westminster Abbey. "Sir Joseph John Thomson".  ^ Mackenzie, A. Stanley (1896). "Review: Elements of the Mathematical Theory of Electricity and Magnetism by J. J. Thomson" (PDF). Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 2 (10): 329–333. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1896-00357-8.  ^ a b J.J. Thomson (1897) "Cathode Rays", The Electrician 39, 104 ^ Falconer (2001) "Corpuscles to electrons" ^ a b c d e Thomson, J. J. (7 August 1897). "Cathode Rays". Philosophical Magazine. 5. 44: 293. doi:10.1080/14786449708621070. Retrieved 4 August 2014.  ^ Mellor, Joseph William (1917), Modern Inorganic Chemistry, Longmans, Green and Company, p. 868, According to J. J. Thomson's hypothesis, atoms are built of systems of rotating rings of electrons.  ^ Dahl (1997), p. 324: "Thomson's model, then, consisted of a uniformly charged sphere of positive electricity (the pudding), with discrete corpuscles (the plums) rotating about the center in circular orbits, whose total charge was equal and opposite to the positive charge." ^ J.J. Thomson (1912) "Further experiments on positive rays," Philosophical Magazine, series 6, 24 (140): 209–253. ^ J.J. Thomson (1913) "Rays of positive electricity," Proceedings of the Royal Society
Royal Society
A, 89: 1–20. ^ Thomson (8 February 1897)'On the cathode rays', Proceedings of the Cambridge
Philosophical Society, 9, 243 ^ Cathode rays Philosophical Magazine, 44, 293 (1897) ^ Thomson, J. J. (1905). "On the emission of negative corpuscles by the alkali metals". Philosophical Magazine. Series 6. 10 (59): 584–590. doi:10.1080/14786440509463405.  ^ Hellemans, Alexander; Bunch, Bryan (1988). The Timetables of Science. Simon & Schuster. p. 411. ISBN 0671621300.  ^ Thomson, J. J. (June 1906). "On the Number of Corpuscles in an Atom". Philosophical Magazine. 11: 769–781. doi:10.1080/14786440609463496. Archived from the original on 19 December 2007. Retrieved 4 October 2008.  ^ Thomson, Sir George Paget. Sir J.J. Thomson, British Physicist. Encyclopædia Brittanica. Retrieved 11 February 2015.  ^ Cooks, R. G.; A. L. Rockwood (1991). "The 'Thomson'. A suggested unit for mass spectroscopists". Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. 5 (2): 93.  ^ " Cambridge
is streets ahead". 2002-07-18. Retrieved 2014-07-31.  ^ "Opening of the New Science Building: Thomson". 2005-12-01. Retrieved 2015-01-10. [permanent dead link]


Thomson, George Paget. (1964) J.J. Thomson: Discoverer of the Electron. Great Britain: Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd. 1883. A Treatise on the Motion of Vortex Rings: An essay to which the Adams Prize was adjudged in 1882, in the University of Cambridge. London: Macmillan and Co., pp. 146. Recent reprint: ISBN 0-543-95696-2. 1888. Applications of Dynamics to Physics
and Chemistry. London: Macmillan and Co., pp. 326. Recent reprint: ISBN 1-4021-8397-6. 1893. Notes on recent researches in electricity and magnetism: intended as a sequel to Professor Clerk-Maxwell's 'Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism'. Oxford University Press, pp.xvi and 578. 1991, Cornell University Monograph: ISBN 1-4297-4053-1. 1921 (1895). Elements Of The Mathematical Theory Of Electricity And Magnetism. London: Macmillan and Co. Scan of 1895 edition. A Text book of Physics
in Five Volumes, co-authored with J.H. Poynting: (1) Properties of Matter, (2) Sound, (3) Heat, (4) Light, and (5) Electricity and Magnetism. Dated 1901 and later, and with revised later editions. Navarro, Jaume, 2005, "Thomson on the Nature of Matter: Corpuscles and the Continuum," Centaurus 47(4): 259–82. Downard, Kevin, 2009. "J.J. Thomson Goes to America" J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 20(11): 1964–1973. [1] Dahl, Per F., "Flash of the Cathode Rays: A History of J.J. Thomson's Electron". Institute of Physics
Publishing. June 1997. ISBN 0-7503-0453-7 J.J. Thomson (1897) "Cathode Rays", The Electrician 39, 104, also published in Proceedings of the Royal Institution 30 April 1897, 1–14—first announcement of the "corpuscle" (before the classic mass and charge experiment) J.J. Thomson (1897), Cathode rays, Philosophical Magazine, 44, 293—The classic measurement of the electron mass and charge J.J. Thomson (1912), "Further experiments on positive rays" Philosophical Magazine, 24, 209–253—first announcement of the two neon parabolae J.J. Thomson (1913), Rays of positive electricity, Proceedings of the Royal Society, A 89, 1–20—Discovery of neon isotopes J.J. Thomson (1904), "On the Structure of the Atom: an Investigation of the Stability and Periods of Oscillation of a number of Corpuscles arranged at equal intervals around the Circumference of a Circle; with Application of the Results to the Theory of Atomic Structure," Philosophical Magazine Series 6, Volume 7, Number 39, pp. 237–265. This paper presents the classical "plum pudding model" from which the Thomson Problem
Thomson Problem
is posed. The Master of Trinity at Trinity College, Cambridge J.J. Thomson, The Electron
in Chemistry: Being Five Lectures Delivered at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia (1923). Davis, Eward Arthur & Falconer, Isobel. J.J. Thomson and the Discovery of the Electron. 1997. ISBN 978-0-7484-0696-8 Falconer, Isobel (1988) "J.J. Thomson's Work on Positive Rays, 1906–1914" Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences 18(2) 265–310 Falconer, Isobel (2001) "Corpuscles to Electrons" in J Buchwald and A Warwick (eds) Histories of the Electron, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, pp. 77–100

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1906 Annotated bibliography for Joseph J. Thomson from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues Essay on Thomson life and religious views The Cathode Ray Tube site Nobel Prize acceptance lecture (1906) Thomson's discovery of the isotopes of Neon Photos of some of Thomson's remaining apparatus at the Cavendish Laboratory Museum Works by J. J. Thomson
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Academic offices

Preceded by Henry Montagu Butler Master of Trinity College, Cambridge 1918–1940 Succeeded by George Macaulay Trevelyan

v t e

Copley Medallists (1901–1950)

Josiah Willard Gibbs
Josiah Willard Gibbs
(1901) Joseph Lister
Joseph Lister
(1902) Eduard Suess
Eduard Suess
(1903) William Crookes
William Crookes
(1904) Dmitri Mendeleev
Dmitri Mendeleev
(1905) Élie Metchnikoff
Élie Metchnikoff
(1906) Albert A. Michelson
Albert A. Michelson
(1907) Alfred Russel Wallace
Alfred Russel Wallace
(1908) George William Hill
George William Hill
(1909) Francis Galton
Francis Galton
(1910) George Darwin
George Darwin
(1911) Felix Klein
Felix Klein
(1912) Ray Lankester
Ray Lankester
(1913) J. J. Thomson
J. J. Thomson
(1914) Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Pavlov
(1915) James Dewar
James Dewar
(1916) Pierre Paul Émile Roux
Pierre Paul Émile Roux
(1917) Hendrik Lorentz
Hendrik Lorentz
(1918) William Bayliss
William Bayliss
(1919) Horace Tabberer Brown
Horace Tabberer Brown
(1920) Joseph Larmor (1921) Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford
(1922) Horace Lamb
Horace Lamb
(1923) Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer
Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer
(1924) Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
(1925) Frederick Gowland Hopkins
Frederick Gowland Hopkins
(1926) Charles Scott Sherrington
Charles Scott Sherrington
(1927) Charles Algernon Parsons
Charles Algernon Parsons
(1928) Max Planck
Max Planck
(1929) William Henry Bragg
William Henry Bragg
(1930) Arthur Schuster
Arthur Schuster
(1931) George Ellery Hale
George Ellery Hale
(1932) Theobald Smith
Theobald Smith
(1933) John Scott Haldane
John Scott Haldane
(1934) Charles Thomson Rees Wilson
Charles Thomson Rees Wilson
(1935) Arthur Evans
Arthur Evans
(1936) Henry Hallett Dale
Henry Hallett Dale
(1937) Niels Bohr
Niels Bohr
(1938) Thomas Hunt Morgan
Thomas Hunt Morgan
(1939) Paul Langevin
Paul Langevin
(1940) Thomas Lewis (1941) Robert Robinson (1942) Joseph Barcroft
Joseph Barcroft
(1943) Geoffrey Ingram Taylor (1944) Oswald Avery
Oswald Avery
(1945) Edgar Douglas Adrian (1946) G. H. Hardy
G. H. Hardy
(1947) Archibald Hill
Archibald Hill
(1948) George de Hevesy
George de Hevesy
(1949) James Chadwick
James Chadwick

v t e

Laureates of the Nobel Prize in Physics


1901 Röntgen 1902 Lorentz / Zeeman 1903 Becquerel / P. Curie / M. Curie 1904 Rayleigh 1905 Lenard 1906 J. J. Thomson 1907 Michelson 1908 Lippmann 1909 Marconi / Braun 1910 Van der Waals 1911 Wien 1912 Dalén 1913 Kamerlingh Onnes 1914 Laue 1915 W. L. Bragg / W. H. Bragg 1916 1917 Barkla 1918 Planck 1919 Stark 1920 Guillaume 1921 Einstein 1922 N. Bohr 1923 Millikan 1924 M. Siegbahn 1925 Franck / Hertz


1926 Perrin 1927 Compton / C. Wilson 1928 O. Richardson 1929 De Broglie 1930 Raman 1931 1932 Heisenberg 1933 Schrödinger / Dirac 1934 1935 Chadwick 1936 Hess / C. D. Anderson 1937 Davisson / G. P. Thomson 1938 Fermi 1939 Lawrence 1940 1941 1942 1943 Stern 1944 Rabi 1945 Pauli 1946 Bridgman 1947 Appleton 1948 Blackett 1949 Yukawa 1950 Powell


1951 Cockcroft / Walton 1952 Bloch / Purcell 1953 Zernike 1954 Born / Bothe 1955 Lamb / Kusch 1956 Shockley / Bardeen / Brattain 1957 C. N. Yang / T. D. Lee 1958 Cherenkov / Frank / Tamm 1959 Segrè / Chamberlain 1960 Glaser 1961 Hofstadter / Mössbauer 1962 Landau 1963 Wigner / Goeppert-Mayer / Jensen 1964 Townes / Basov / Prokhorov 1965 Tomonaga / Schwinger / Feynman 1966 Kastler 1967 Bethe 1968 Alvarez 1969 Gell-Mann 1970 Alfvén / Néel 1971 Gabor 1972 Bardeen / Cooper / Schrieffer 1973 Esaki / Giaever / Josephson 1974 Ryle / Hewish 1975 A. Bohr / Mottelson / Rainwater


1976 Richter / Ting 1977 P. W. Anderson / Mott / Van Vleck 1978 Kapitsa / Penzias / R. Wilson 1979 Glashow / Salam / Weinberg 1980 Cronin / Fitch 1981 Bloembergen / Schawlow / K. Siegbahn 1982 K. Wilson 1983 Chandrasekhar / Fowler 1984 Rubbia / Van der Meer 1985 von Klitzing 1986 Ruska / Binnig / Rohrer 1987 Bednorz / Müller 1988 Lederman / Schwartz / Steinberger 1989 Ramsey / Dehmelt / Paul 1990 Friedman / Kendall / R. Taylor 1991 de Gennes 1992 Charpak 1993 Hulse / J. Taylor 1994 Brockhouse / Shull 1995 Perl / Reines 1996 D. Lee / Osheroff / R. Richardson 1997 Chu / Cohen-Tannoudji / Phillips 1998 Laughlin / Störmer / Tsui 1999 't Hooft / Veltman 2000 Alferov / Kroemer / Kilby

2001– present

2001 Cornell / Ketterle / Wieman 2002 Davis / Koshiba / Giacconi 2003 Abrikosov / Ginzburg / Leggett 2004 Gross / Politzer / Wilczek 2005 Glauber / Hall / Hänsch 2006 Mather / Smoot 2007 Fert / Grünberg 2008 Nambu / Kobayashi / Maskawa 2009 Kao / Boyle / Smith 2010 Geim / Novoselov 2011 Perlmutter / Riess / Schmidt 2012 Wineland / Haroche 2013 Englert / Higgs 2014 Akasaki / Amano / Nakamura 2015 Kajita / McDonald 2016 Thouless / Haldane / Kosterlitz 2017 Weiss / Barish / Thorne

v t e

Presidents of the Royal Society

17th century

Viscount Brouncker (1662) Joseph Williamson (1677) Christopher Wren
Christopher Wren
(1680) John Hoskyns (1682) Cyril Wyche
Cyril Wyche
(1683) Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
(1684) Earl of Carbery (1686) Earl of Pembroke (1689) Robert Southwell (1690) Charles Montagu (1695) Lord Somers (1698)

18th century

Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
(1703) Hans Sloane
Hans Sloane
(1727) Martin Folkes
Martin Folkes
(1741) Earl of Macclesfield (1752) Earl of Morton (1764) James Burrow
James Burrow
(1768) James West (1768) James Burrow
James Burrow
(1772) John Pringle
John Pringle
(1772) Joseph Banks
Joseph Banks

19th century

William Hyde Wollaston
William Hyde Wollaston
(1820) Humphry Davy
Humphry Davy
(1820) Davies Gilbert
Davies Gilbert
(1827) Duke of Sussex (1830) Marquess of Northampton (1838) Earl of Rosse (1848) Lord Wrottesley (1854) Benjamin Collins Brodie (1858) Edward Sabine
Edward Sabine
(1861) George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
(1871) Joseph Dalton Hooker
Joseph Dalton Hooker
(1873) William Spottiswoode
William Spottiswoode
(1878) Thomas Henry Huxley
Thomas Henry Huxley
(1883) George Gabriel Stokes (1885) William Thomson (1890) Joseph Lister
Joseph Lister

20th century

William Huggins
William Huggins
(1900) Lord Rayleigh (1905) Archibald Geikie
Archibald Geikie
(1908) William Crookes
William Crookes
(1913) J. J. Thomson
J. J. Thomson
(1915) Charles Scott Sherrington
Charles Scott Sherrington
(1920) Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford
(1925) Frederick Gowland Hopkins
Frederick Gowland Hopkins
(1930) William Henry Bragg
William Henry Bragg
(1935) Henry Hallett Dale
Henry Hallett Dale
(1940) Robert Robinson (1945) Edgar Adrian
Edgar Adrian
(1950) Cyril Norman Hinshelwood
Cyril Norman Hinshelwood
(1955) Howard Florey
Howard Florey
(1960) Patrick Blackett (1965) Alan Lloyd Hodgkin
Alan Lloyd Hodgkin
(1970) Lord Todd (1975) Andrew Huxley
Andrew Huxley
(1980) George Porter
George Porter
(1985) Sir Michael Atiyah
Michael Atiyah
(1990) Sir Aaron Klug
Aaron Klug

21st century

Robert May (2000) Martin Rees (2005) Sir Paul Nurse
Paul Nurse
(2010) Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

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Scientists whose names are used as non SI units

Anders Jonas Ångström Alexander Graham Bell Marie Curie Pierre Curie John Dalton Peter Debye Loránd Eötvös Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit Galileo Galilei Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss William Gilbert Heinrich Kayser Johann Heinrich Lambert Samuel Pierpont Langley Heinrich Mache James Clerk Maxwell John Napier Hans Christian Ørsted Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille William John Macquorn Rankine René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur Wilhelm Röntgen Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet John Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh Joseph John Thomson Evangelista Torricelli

Scientists whose names are used as SI units Scientists whose names are used in chemical element names Scientists whose names are used in physical constants

v t e

Scientists whose names are used in physical constants

Physical constants

Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
(gravitational constant) Charles-Augustin de Coulomb
Charles-Augustin de Coulomb
(Coulomb's constant) Amedeo Avogadro
Amedeo Avogadro
(Avogadro constant) Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday
(Faraday constant) Johann Josef Loschmidt Johann Jakob Balmer Joseph Stefan
Joseph Stefan
(Stefan–Boltzmann constant) Ludwig Boltzmann
Ludwig Boltzmann
(Boltzmann constant, Stefan–Boltzmann constant) Johannes Rydberg
Johannes Rydberg
(Rydberg constant) Joseph John Thomson Max Planck
Max Planck
(Planck constant, reduced Planck constant, Planck length, Planck time) Wilhelm Wien Otto Sackur Niels Bohr
Niels Bohr
(Bohr radius) Edwin Hubble
Edwin Hubble
(Hubble constant) Hugo Tetrode Douglas Hartree Brian David Josephson Klaus von Klitzing

List of scientists whose names are used as SI units
List of scientists whose names are used as SI units
and non SI units

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 7472229 LCCN: n50013536 ISNI: 0000 0001 2119 4340 GND: 118802089 SELIBR: 237025 SUDOC: 032937369 BNF: cb12386792g (data) MGP: 50701 NLA: 35548544 NDL: 00621558 NKC: mzk2010585094 ICCU: ITICCUCUBV153066 BNE: XX1779