James Chadwick (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: With the discovery of the neutron, one of the elementary particles of matter, Chadwick opened a new era in nuclear physics research. He was a leader in the investigation of both military and civilian applications of that discovery.
James Chadwick was born on October 20, 1891, in Manchester, England. The eldest son of John Joseph and Anne Mary (née Knowles) Chadwick, he lived with his grandmother and entered the local school when his father moved to Manchester to develop a laundry business. At the Manchester Municipal Secondary School, he showed great interest in mathematics and physics and was encouraged by a teacher to specialize in applied mathematics.
In 1908, Chadwick entered the Victoria University of Manchester on a scholarship. He majored in physics instead of the intended mathematics as a result of confusion in the registration procedure, and he became fascinated with the subject only after attending lectures on electromagnetism by Ernest Rutherford, the greatest experimental physicist since Michael Faraday and the world leader in the investigation of radioactivity.
After receiving a first-class honors degree in 1911, Chadwick remained in the Manchester laboratory. In that year, Rutherford made one of the most important scientific discoveries of this century: the nuclear structure of the atom. This picture of the atom was modified in 1913 by the Danish...
(The entire section is 1986 words.)
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