George Paget Thomson

George Paget Thomson

bgcolour = silver
name = Sir George Paget Thomson

birth_date = birth date|1892|5|3
birth_place = Cambridge, England
death_date = Death date and age|1975|9|10|1892|5|3
death_place = Cambridge, England
nationality = UK
field = Physics
work_institution = University of Aberdeen
University of Cambridge
Imperial College London
alma_mater = University of Cambridge
doctoral_advisor = John Strutt (Rayleigh)
doctoral_students =
known_for = Electron diffraction
prizes = Nobel Prize in Physics (1937)
religion =
footnotes =

Sir George Paget Thomson, FRS (May 3, 1892 – September 10, 1975) was an English physicist and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his discovery with Clinton Davisson of the wave properties of the electron by electron diffraction.


Thomson was born in Cambridge, England, the son of physicist and Nobel laureate J. J. Thomson and Rose Elisabeth Paget, the daughter of the professor of medicine at the University of Cambridge. Thomson went to The Perse School, Cambridge before going onto read mathematics and physics at Trinity College, Cambridge, until the outbreak of World War I in 1914, when he was commissioned into the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment. After brief service in France, he worked on aerodynamics at Farnborough and elsewhere. He resigned his commission as a Captain in 1920.

In 1924, Thomson married Kathleen Buchanan Smith, daughter of the Very Rev. Sir George Adam Smith. They had four children, two sons and two daughters. Kathleen died in 1941.


After briefly serving in the First World War Thomson became a Fellow at Cambridge and then moved to the University of Aberdeen. George Thomson was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1937 for his work in Aberdeen in discovering the wave-like properties of the electron. The prize was shared with Clinton Joseph Davisson who had made the same discovery independently. Whereas his father had seen the electron as a particle (and won his Nobel Prize in the process), Thomson demonstrated that it could be diffracted like a wave, a discovery proving the principle of wave-particle duality which had first been posited by Louis-Victor de Broglie in the 1920s as what is often dubbed the de Broglie hypothesis.

In 1930 he was appointed Professor at Imperial College. In the late 1930s and during the Second World War Thomson specialised in nuclear physics, concentrating on practical military applications. In particular Thomson was the chairman of the crucial MAUD Committee in 1940-1941 that concluded that an atomic bomb was feasible. In later life he continued this work on nuclear energy but also wrote works on aerodynamics and the value of science in society.

Thomson stayed at Imperial College until 1952, when he became Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. In 1964, the college honoured his tenure with the George Thomson Building, an outstanding work of modernist architecture on the college's Leckhampton campus.

Thomson was knighted in 1943.




External links

* [ George Thomson portraits] at the National Portrait Gallery
* [ George Thomson biography] at Wageningen University

NAME= Thomson, George Paget
SHORT DESCRIPTION= English Physicist
DATE OF BIRTH= 3 May 1892
DATE OF DEATH= 10 September 1975

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  • George Paget Thomson — George Paget Thomson, 1937 George Paget Thomson (* 3. Mai 1892 in Cambridge; † 10. September 1975 ebenda) war ein englischer Physiker und Nobelpreisträger. Leben Thomson stammte aus einer Physikerfamilie. Sein Vate …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George Paget Thomson — Retrato de 1937 …   Wikipedia Español

  • George Paget Thomson — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Thomson. George Paget Thomson Naissance 3 mai  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • George Paget Thomson — noun English physicist (son of Joseph John Thomson) who was a co discoverer of the diffraction of electrons by crystals (1892 1975) • Syn: ↑Thomson, ↑Sir George Paget Thomson • Instance Hypernyms: ↑physicist …   Useful english dictionary

  • George Paget Thomson — Sir George Paget Thomson (n. Cambridge, 3 de mayo de 1892 † Cambridge, 10 de septiembre de 1975). Físico británico. Fue hijo de sir Joseph John Thomson, premio Nobel de Física en 1906, considerado el descubridor del electrón por sus experimentos… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Physiknobelpreis 1937: Clinton Joseph Davisson — George Paget Thomson —   Der amerikanische und der englische Physiker wurden für die experimentelle Entdeckung der Beugung von Elektronen durch Kristalle ausgezeichnet.    Biografien   Clinton Joseph Davisson, * Bloomington (Illinois) 22. 10. 1881, ✝ Charlottesville… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Sir George Paget Thomson — noun English physicist (son of Joseph John Thomson) who was a co discoverer of the diffraction of electrons by crystals (1892 1975) • Syn: ↑Thomson, ↑George Paget Thomson • Instance Hypernyms: ↑physicist …   Useful english dictionary

  • Thomson , Sir George Paget — (1892–1975) British physicist George Thomson was the son of J.J. Thomson, the discoverer of the electron. He was born in Cambridge and educated at the university there, where he taught (1914–22). He was then appointed to the chair of physics at… …   Scientists

  • Thomson, Sir George Paget — ▪ English physicist born May 3, 1892, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, Eng. died Sept. 10, 1975, Cambridge  English physicist who was the joint recipient, with Clinton J. Davisson (Davisson, Clinton Joseph) of the United States, of the Nobel Prize for… …   Universalium

  • Thomson, sir George Paget — ► (1892 1975) Físico británico, hijo de Joseph J. Thomson. Fue premio Nobel de Física en 1937, compartido con C. J. Davisson, por demostrar que los electrones se difractaban …   Enciclopedia Universal