John Lennard-Jones

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Sir John Lennard-Jones
Lennard-jones.jpg
Sir John Edward Lennard-Jones
Born John Edward Jones
27 October 1894 (1894-10-27)
Leigh, Lancashire
Died 1 November 1954 (1954-12) (aged 60)
Stoke-on-Trent
Nationality English
Fields Mathematician
Institutions
Alma mater University of Manchester
Doctoral advisor Ralph Howard Fowler[1]
Doctoral students
Known for Lennard-Jones potential
Notable awards

Sir John Edward Lennard-Jones KBE, FRS[2] (27 October 1894 – 1 November 1954) was a mathematician who was a professor of theoretical physics at University of Bristol, and then of theoretical science at the University of Cambridge. He may be regarded as the initiator of modern computational chemistry.[1][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

Career[edit]

Lennard-Jones is well-known among scientists for his work on molecular structure, valency and intermolecular forces. Much research of these topics over several decades grew from a paper he published in 1929.[6] His theories of liquids and of surface catalysis also remain influential. He wrote few, albeit influential, papers.

His main interest was of atomic and molecular structure, especially the forces between atomic particles, the nature of chemical bonds and such basic matters as why water expands when it freezes. Holding the first Chair of Theoretical Chemistry in the United Kingdom, he established a research school applying to phenomena in physics and organic chemistry new concepts of quantum mechanics and the interactions of subatomic particles. The department attracted many notable scientists and mathematicians, including S.F. Boys, C.A. Coulson, G.G. Hall, A. Hurley, and J. Pople.

Atoms of a noble gas interact via a potential in which an attracting van der Waals force balances a repelling force which results from overlapping electron orbits. A well known approximation to this potential is the so-called Lennard-Jones potential, a description of the potential energy as a function of the separation of the atoms. Also named after him, the Lennard-Jones Laboratory houses the School of Chemistry and Physics at Keele University. The Royal Society of Chemistry awards a Lennard-Jones Medal and hosts the Lennard-Jones lecture each year.

Keele University holds a collection of Lennard-Jones's published work, as well as a laboratory named in his honour. Professor C.A. Coulson’s collected lecture notes from 1928–1932, held in the University of Cambridge Library, record Lennard-Jones's lectures. Coulson wrote 'I suspect that these are the first lectures on theoretical chemistry (or perhaps more accurately quantum chemistry) that had been given in Britain'. Lennard-Jones’s private papers are held at Churchill Archives Centre, in Cambridge.

John Edward Jones married Kathleen Lennard in 1926, adding his new wife's surname to his own to become Lennard-Jones. They had two children, John and Mary.

Summary of key biographical dates[edit]

Awards and honours[edit]

The Lennard-Jones Centre[14] is named in his honour.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c John Lennard-Jones at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ a b c Mott, N. F. (1955). "John Edward Lennard-Jones 1894-1954". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 1: 174–126. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1955.0013. 
  3. ^ Mehra, Jagdish; Helmut Rechenberg (2001). The Historical Development of Quantum Theory: Fundamental Equations of Quantum Mechanics and the Reception of the New Quantum Mechanics. Springer. p. 58. ISBN 0-387-95178-4. 
  4. ^ Jones, J. E. (1924). "On the Determination of Molecular Fields. I. From the Variation of the Viscosity of a Gas with Temperature". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 106 (738): 441. Bibcode:1924RSPSA.106..441J. doi:10.1098/rspa.1924.0081. 
  5. ^ Jones, J. E. (1924). "On the Determination of Molecular Fields. II. From the Equation of State of a Gas". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 106 (738): 463. Bibcode:1924RSPSA.106..463J. doi:10.1098/rspa.1924.0082. 
  6. ^ a b c Lennard-Jones, J. E. (1929). "The electronic structure of some diatomic molecules". Transactions of the Faraday Society 25: 668–665. doi:10.1039/TF9292500668. 
  7. ^ a b Lennard-Jones, J. E. (2008). "Wave Functions of Many-Electron Atoms". Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 27 (3): 469. doi:10.1017/S0305004100010057. 
  8. ^ a b Lennard-Jones, J. E. (1934). "The electronic structure and the interaction of some simple radicals". Transactions of the Faraday Society 30: 70–148. doi:10.1039/TF9343000070. 
  9. ^ a b Lennard-Jones, J. (1949). "The Molecular Orbital Theory of Chemical Valency. I. The Determination of Molecular Orbitals". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 198 (1052): 1. Bibcode:1949RSPSA.198....1L. doi:10.1098/rspa.1949.0083. 
  10. ^ a b Hall, G. G.; Lennard-Jones, J. (1950). "The Molecular Orbital Theory of Chemical Valency. III. Properties of Molecular Orbitals". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 202 (1069): 155. Bibcode:1950RSPSA.202..155H. doi:10.1098/rspa.1950.0091. 
  11. ^ Portraits of John Lennard-Jones at the National Portrait Gallery, London
  12. ^ The Lennard-Jones paper of 1929 and the foundations of Molecular Orbital Theory by George G. Hall
  13. ^ Lennard-Jones, J. E. (1937). "The Electronic Structure of Some Polyenes and Aromatic Molecules. I. The Nature of the Links by the Method of Molecular Orbitals". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 158 (894): 280. Bibcode:1937RSPSA.158..280L. doi:10.1098/rspa.1937.0020. 
  14. ^ http://ljc.group.cam.ac.uk
Academic offices
Preceded by
Alexander Lindsay
Principal, University College of North Staffordshire
(now Keele University)

1953-1954
Succeeded by
Sir George Barnes