- James Chadwick
name = Sir James Chadwick
image_size = 180px
birth_date = birth date|df=yes|1891|10|20
Bollington, Cheshire, England
death_date = death date and age|df=yes|1974|7|24|1891|10|20
Technical University of Berlin Liverpool University
Gonville and Caius College
University of Manchester University of Cambridge.
Maurice Goldhaber Ernest C. Pollard Charles Drummond Ellis
known_for = Discovery of the neutron
prizes = nowrap|
Nobel Prize in Physics(1935)
Sir James Chadwick, CH (20 October 1891 – 24 July 1974) was an English
physicistand Nobel laureatein physics awarded for his discovery of the neutron.
James Chadwick was born in
Bollington, Cheshire, the son of John Joseph Chadwick and Anne Mary Knowles. He went to Bollington Cross C of E Primary School, attended Manchester High School, and studied at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge. In 1913 Chadwick went and worked with Hans Geigerat the Technical University of Berlin. He also worked with Ernest Rutherford. He was in Germany at the start of World War I and would be interned in Ruhleben P.O.W. Campjust outside Berlin. During his internment he had the freedom to set up a laboratory in the stables. With the help of Charles Ellis he worked on the ionization of phosphorus and also on the photo-chemical reaction of carbon dioxide and Argon. [ [http://ruhleben.tripod.com/id5.html The Ruhleben Story ] ] He spent most of the war years in Ruhleben until Dachant's laboratory interceded for his release.
Research at Cambridge
In 1932 Chadwick made a fundamental discovery in the domain of
nuclear science: he discovered the particle in the nucleus of an atom that became known as the neutronbecause it has no electric charge. In contrast with the boronnuclei ( beta particles) which are positively charged, and therefore repelled by the considerable electrical forces present in the nuclei of heavy atoms, this new tool in atomic disintegrationneed not overcome any Coulomb barrier and is capable of penetrating and splitting the nuclei of even the heaviest elements. In this way, Chadwick prepared the way towards the fission of uranium 235. For this important discovery he was awarded the Hughes Medalof the Royal Societyin 1932, and subsequently the Nobel Prize for Physicsin 1935. [ [http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1935/chadwick-bio.html James Chadwick - Biography] ]
Chadwick’s discovery made it possible to create elements heavier than
uraniumin the laboratory. His discovery particularly inspired Enrico Fermi, Italian physicist and Nobel laureate, to discover nuclear reactions brought by slowed neutrons, and led Otto Hahnand Fritz Strassmann, German radiochemists in Berlin, to the revolutionary discovery of “ nuclear fission”.
Chadwick became a head professor of physics at
Liverpool Universityin 1935. As a result of the Frisch-Peierls memorandumin 1940 on the feasibility of an atomic bomb, he was appointed to the MAUD Committeethat investigated the matter further. He visited North America as part of the Tizard Missionin 1940 to collaborate with the Americans and Canadians on nuclear research. Returning to England in November 1940, he concluded that nothing would emerge from this research until after the war. In December 1940 Franz Simon, who had been commissioned by MAUD, reported that it was possible to separate the isotope uranium-235. Simon's report included cost estimates and technical specifications for a large uranium enrichmentplant. James Chadwick later wrote that it was at that time that he "realised that a nuclear bomb was not only possible, it was inevitable. I had then to take sleeping pills. It was the only remedy."
He shortly afterward joined the
Manhattan Projectin the United States, which developed the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshimaand Nagasaki. Chadwick was knighted in 1945.
Recently discovered documents
In 1940, Chadwick forwarded the work of two French scientists,
Hans Von Halbanand Lew Kowarski, who worked in Cambridge to the Royal Society. He asked that the papers be held as they were not appropriate for publication during the war. In 2007, the Society discovered the documents during an audit of their archives. [not funny [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6709855.stm BBC Article about discovered documents] ]
publisher = Oxford University Press
isbn = 0-19-853992-4
last = Brown
first = Andrew
title = The neutron and the bomb : a biography of Sir James Chadwick
location = Oxford ; New York
date = 1997
* [http://dbhs.wvusd.k12.ca.us/webdocs/Chem-History/Chadwick-1932/Chadwick-neutron.html Chadwick's article in Nature (10 May 1932: "The Existence of a Neutron")]
* [http://www.physik.uni-muenchen.de/leifiphysik/web_ph12/originalarbeiten/chadwick/chadwick_neutr.htm Another letter (3 months earlier) from Chadwick to Nature]
* [http://alsos.wlu.edu/qsearch.aspx?browse=people/Chadwick,+James Annotated bibliography for Chadwick from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues]
* [http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1935/chadwick-bio.html Nobel prize Website entry]
* [http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0014%2FCHAD The Papers of Sir James Chadwick] are held at the
Churchill Archives Centrein Cambridge and are accessible to the public.
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