Charles Thomson Rees Wilson
|Charles Thomson Rees Wilson|
Wilson in 1927
|Born||Charles Thomson Rees Wilson
14 February 1868
|Died||15 November 1959
|Institutions||Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge|
|Alma mater||Owens College
Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
|Academic advisors||J. J. Thomson|
|Doctoral students||Cecil Frank Powell|
|Known for||Cloud chamber|
Education and early life
Wilson was born in the parish of Glencorse, Midlothian to Annie Clark Harper and John Wilson, a sheep farmer. After his father died in 1873, he moved with his family to Manchester. With financial support from his step-brother he studied biology at Owens College, now the University of Manchester, with the intent of becoming a doctor. In 1887, he graduating from the College with a BSc. He won a scholarship to attend Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge where he became interested in physics and chemistry. In 1892 he received a 1st class honours in both parts of the Natural Science Tripos.
Wilson was made Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, and University Lecturer and Demonstrator in 1900. He thereafter became particularly interested in meteorology, and in 1893 he began to study clouds and their properties. He worked for some time at the observatory on Ben Nevis, where he made observations of cloud formation. He then tried to reproduce this effect on a smaller scale at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, expanding humid air within a sealed container. He later experimented with the creation of cloud trails in his chamber caused by ions and radiation.
Awards, honours and legacy
For the invention of the cloud chamber he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927.
The Wilson crater on the Moon is named for him, Alexander Wilson and Ralph Elmer Wilson. The Wilson Condensation Cloud formations that occur after large explosions, such as nuclear detonations, are named after him. The Wilson Society at the University of Cambridge is also named for him.
In 1908, Wilson married Jessie Fraser, the daughter of a minister from Glasgow. The couple had 2 daughters and one son. He died at his home in Carlops on 15 December 1959, surrounded by his family.
- Blackett, P. M. S. (1960). "Charles Thomson Rees Wilson 1869–1959". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. Royal Society. 6. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1960.0037.
- Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, Isaac Asimov, 2nd ed., Doubleday & C., Inc., ISBN 0-385-17771-2.
- Charles Thomson Rees Wilson's biography
- Longair, Malcolm S. (2006). "Wilson, Charles Thomson Rees (1869–1959),". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- "Wilson, Charles Thomson Rees (WL888CT)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- "C.T.R. Wilson - Biographical". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
- "Planetary Names: Crater, craters: Wilson on Moon". planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
- Glasstone, Samuel; Dolan, Philip J., eds. (1977). The effects of nuclear weapons (3rd ed.). Washington: U.S. Department of Defense. p. 45 – via HATHI Trust.
- "About | Wilson Society". www.srcf.ucam.org. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
- "Papers of Charles Thomson Rees Wilson, 1869-1959, Nobel Prize winner and Professor of Natural Philosophy, University of Cambridge - Archives Hub". Retrieved 2017-01-28.