John Aitken (meteorologist)

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John Aitken
Born 8 September 1839
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Died 14 November 1919
Ardenlea, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Fields meteorology and physics
Institutions Practised meteorology from his home at Darroch, Falkirk.
Alma mater Glasgow University
Known for cloud physics
aerosol
Notable awards Keith Prize 1883-5
Gunning Victoria Jubilee Prize 1893-6

John Aitken FRS FRSE (1839–1919) was a Scottish meteorologist, physicist and marine engineer. He was one of the founders of cloud physics and aerosol science, who built the first apparatus to measure the number of dust and fog particles in the atmosphere, a koniscope.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

Aitken was born in Falkirk on 18 September 1839, the son of Henry Aitken of Darroch, a Falkirk lawyer. He was educated at Falkirk Grammar School and studied marine engineering at Glasgow University, undertaking his engineer training with Messrs Napier & Sons, the Glasgow shipbuilder.[3]

He settled at Falkirk, where he carried out his various experiments. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1889 and was awarded the Royal Medal in 1917. He also received the Keith Medal (1886) and Gunning Prize (1897) from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.[4]

Work[edit]

He carried out experiments on atmospheric dust in relation to the formation of clouds and mists (1882), on the formation of dew (1885) and on the laws of cyclones (1891). His instrument for counting the dust particles in the air has been utilized in principle by many later workers. He also invented new forms of thermometer screens which aided the development of meteorology.[4]

One of his experiments conducted with a self-designed apparatus provided the first evidence of new particle formation in the atmosphere. This work was documented in an article titled "On some nuclei of cloudy condensation", in the 39th volume of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh published in 1898.[5]

John Aitken was the author of a number of important pioneering discoveries "On Dust, Fogs and Clouds" (the title of an 1880 article he penned).[6] As early as 1874, Aitken had concluded that when water vapor in the atmosphere condenses, it must condense on some solid particle, and thus, without the presence of dust and other aerosol particles in the air, there would be no formation of fog, clouds, or rain. In 1884, he concluded that the brilliant colors often seen in the sunset are due to the refraction of light by dust particles in the upper atmosphere.[7]

Today, his name is given by atmospheric scientists to the smallest atmospheric aerosol particles (Aitken nuclei), those with a radius less than 0.1 micrometers.[8] This size range include the newly nucleated particles whose existence Aitken demonstrated.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Second Edition, Seinfeld and Pandis, 2006.
  2. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica
  3. ^ Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783-2002: Biographical Index I. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Aitken, John". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York. 
  5. ^ Aitken, J. 1898. On some nuclei of cloudy condensation. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 39(3):15-25.
  6. ^ Aitken, J. 1880. On dust, fogs, and clouds. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1880-1881) 11(108):14-18; 122-126.
  7. ^ Podzimek, J., 1989: John Aitken's Contribution to Atmospheric and Aerosol Sciences—One Hundred Years of Condensation Nuclei Counting. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 70, 1538–1545. [1]
  8. ^ http://www.scottish-places.info/people/famousfirst928.html

Bibliography of Aitken's Papers[edit]

  1. Aitken, J. 1872. Melting and regelation of ice. Nature 6:396.
  2. Aitken, J. 1873. Glacier motion. Nature 7(172):287-288.
  3. Aitken, J. 1875. On boiling, condensing, freezing, and melting. Transactions of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts (1874–1875) 9:240-287.
  4. Aitken, J. 1875. Experiments illustrating rigidity produced by centrifugal force. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1875–1876) 9(94):73-78.
  5. Aitken, J. 1876. Experiments illustrating rigidity produced by centrifugal force. Proceedings of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow (1875–1876) 10(1):99-106.
  6. Aitken, J. 1878. Experiments illustrating rigidity produced by centrifugal force. The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, Fifth series, 5(29):81-105.
  7. Aitken, J. 1876-77. On ocean circulation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1876–1877) 9(98):394-400.
  8. Aitken, J. 1880. On a new variety of ocular spectrum. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1878–1879) 10(104):40-44.
  9. Aitken, J. 1880. On the distribution of temperature under the ice in frozen lakes. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1878–1879) 10(104):409-415.
  10. Aitken, J. 1880. On dust, fogs, and clouds. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1880–1881) 11(108):14-18; 122-126.
  11. Aitken, J. 1880. On dust, fogs, and clouds. Nature 23(583):195-197.
  12. Aitken, J. 1881. Dust and fogs. Nature 23(588):311-312.
  13. Aitken, J. 1881. Dust, fogs, and clouds. Nature 23(591):384-385.
  14. Aitken, J. 1881. On dust, fogs, and clouds. Van Nostrand's Engineering Magazine 24(148):308-310.
  15. Aitken, J. 1882. On the colour of the Mediterranean and other waters. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1881–1882) 11:472-483.
  16. Aitken, J. 1882-1883. On the effect of oil on a stormy sea. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1882–1883) 12:56-75.
  17. Aitken, J. 1883. On dust, fogs, and clouds. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 30(1):337-368.
  18. Aitken, J. 1883-84. The remarkable sunsets. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 12:448-450,647-660.
  19. Aitken, J. 1884. On the formation of small clear spaces in dusty air. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1883–1884) 32:239-272.
  20. Aitken, J. 1884. Second note on the remarkable sunsets. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1883–1884) 12:123-133.
  21. Aitken, J. 1885. Chromomictors. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1884–1885) 13:122-130.
  22. Aitken, J. 1885. On dew. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1885–1886) 13(121):446-450.
  23. Aitken, J. 1885. On thermometer screens. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1885–1886) 13:632-642.
  24. Aitken, J. 1886. On dew. The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, Fifth Series, 22(135):206-212; (137):363-368.
  25. Aitken, J. 1887. Note on hoar-frost. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 14(2):121-125.
  26. Aitken, J. 1888. On the number of dust particles in the atmosphere. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 35(1):1-19.
  27. Aitken, J. 1889. Dust particles in the atmosphere at Ben Nevis Observatory. Nature 40:350-351.
  28. Aitken, J. 1889. On improvements in the apparatus for counting the dust particles in the atmosphere. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 16(129):134-172.
  29. Aitken, J. 1890. On the number of dust particles in the atmosphere of certain places in Great Britain and on the continent, with remarks on the relation between the amount of dust and meteorological phenomena. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1889–1890) 17(130):193-254.
  30. Aitken, J. 1890. On the number of dust particles in the atmosphere of certain places in Great Britain and on the continent, with remarks on the relation between the amount of dust and meteorological phenomena. Nature 41(1061):394-396.
  31. Aitken, J. 1891. On a simple pocket dust-counter. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1890–1891) 18(February):39-52.
  32. Aitken, J. 1891. On a method of observing and counting the number of water particles in a fog. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1890–1891) 18:259-262.
  33. Aitken, J. 1891. On the solid and liquid particles in clouds. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 36:313-319.
  34. Aitken, J. 1892. On the number of dust particles in the atmosphere of certain places in Great Britain and on the continent, with remarks on the relation between the amount of dust and meteorological phenomena. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 37(3):17-49; (28):621-693.
  35. Aitken, J. 1892. On some phenomena connected with cloudy condensation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 51(312):408-439.
  36. Aitken, J. 1892-95. On some observations made without a dust counter on the hazing effect of atmospheric dust. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 20:76-93.
  37. Aitken, J. 1893. Particles in fogs and clouds. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 37(20):413-425.
  38. Aitken, J. 1893. Breath figures. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 20:94-97.
  39. Aitken, J. 1894. Dust and meteorological phenomena. Nature 49(1275):544-546.
  40. Aitken, J. 1894. Phenomena connected with cloudy condensation. Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, July 1893, pp. 201–230.
  41. Aitken, J. 1895. On the number of dust particles in the atmosphere of certain places in Great Britain and on the continent, with remarks on the relation between the amount of dust and meteorological phenomena. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 37(3):17-49; (28):621-693.
  42. Aitken, J. 1896. Observations of atmospheric dust. In: Fassig, O. (ed), United States Department of Agriculture, Weather Bureau Bulletin 11, Part III, pp. 734–754.
  43. Aitken, J. 1898. On some nuclei of cloudy condensation. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 39(3):15-25.
  44. Aitken, J. 1902. Report on atmospheric dust. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 42(2):479-489.
  45. Aitken, J. 1903. On the formation of definitive figures by the deposition of dust. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A 201:551-558.
  46. Aitken, J. 1905. Evaporation of musk and other odorous substances. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 25(10):894-902.
  47. Aitken, J. 1912. The sun as a fog producer. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1911–1912) 32:183-215.

External links[edit]