James Chadwick

James Chadwick

name = Sir James Chadwick

image_size = 180px
birth_date = birth date|df=yes|1891|10|20
birth_place = Bollington, Cheshire, England
death_date = death date and age|df=yes|1974|7|24|1891|10|20
death_place = Cambridge, England
citizenship = United Kingdom
field = Physics
work_institution = Technical University of Berlin
Liverpool University
Gonville and Caius College
Cambridge University
Manhattan Project
alma_mater = University of Manchester
University of Cambridge.
doctoral_advisor = Ernest Rutherford
doctoral_students = Maurice Goldhaber
Ernest C. Pollard
Charles Drummond Ellis
known_for = Discovery of the neutron
prizes = nowrap|Nobel Prize in Physics (1935)
footnotes =

Sir James Chadwick, CH (20 October 1891 – 24 July 1974) was an English physicist and Nobel laureate in 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 Geiger at 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. Camp just 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 neutron because it has no electric charge. In contrast with the boron nuclei (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 disintegration need 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 Medal of the Royal Society in 1932, and subsequently the Nobel Prize for Physics in 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 uranium in the laboratory. His discovery particularly inspired Enrico Fermi, Italian physicist and Nobel laureate, to discover nuclear reactions brought by slowed neutrons, and led Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, German radiochemists in Berlin, to the revolutionary discovery of “nuclear fission”.


Chadwick became a head professor of physics at Liverpool University in 1935. As a result of the Frisch-Peierls memorandum in 1940 on the feasibility of an atomic bomb, he was appointed to the MAUD Committee that investigated the matter further. He visited North America as part of the Tizard Mission in 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 enrichment plant. 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 Project in the United States, which developed the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Chadwick was knighted in 1945.

Recently discovered documents

In 1940, Chadwick forwarded the work of two French scientists, Hans Von Halban and 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] ]


*Cite book
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

External links

* [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 Centre in Cambridge and are accessible to the public.

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