Edmund Clifton Stoner

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Professor Edmund Stoner
Born Edmund Clifton Stoner
(1899-11-02)2 November 1899
Surrey, England
Died 27 December 1968(1968-12-27) (aged 69)
Leeds, England[1]
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Known for Ferromagnetism
Awards Fellow of the Royal Society[1]
Scientific career
Institutions University of Leeds

Edmund Clifton Stoner FRS (2 October 1899 – 27 December 1968) was a British theoretical physicist. He is principally known for his work on the origin and nature of itinerant ferromagnetism (the type of ferromagnetic behaviour associated with pure transition metals like cobalt, nickel, and iron), including the collective electron theory of ferromagnetism and the Stoner criterion for ferromagnetism.[2][3][4][5][6][7]


Stoner was born in Esher, Surrey, the son of cricketer Arthur Hallett Stoner. He won a scholarship to Bolton School (1911–1918) and then attended University of Cambridge in 1918, graduating in 1921. After graduation, he worked at the Cavendish Laboratory on the absorption of X-rays by matter and electron energy levels; his 1924 paper on this subject prefigured the Pauli exclusion principle.[citation needed] Stoner was appointed a Lecturer in the Department of Physics at the University of Leeds in 1932, becoming Professor of Theoretical Physics there in 1939. He did some early work in astrophysics and computed a limit for the mass of white dwarf stars in 1930. Most of his research, however, was on magnetism, where, starting in 1938, he developed the collective electron theory of ferromagnetism. He retired in 1963.

He is also known for his discovery of the Chandrasekhar limit before S. Chandrasekhar.[8]


The E C Stoner building at the University of Leeds is named after him.[1][9],[10]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in May 1937.[11]

Stoner had been diagnosed with diabetes in 1919. He controlled it with diet until 1927, when insulin treatment became available.[1]

Stoner model of ferromagnetism[edit]

A schematic band structure for the Stoner model of ferromagnetism. An exchange interaction has split the energy of states with different spins, and states near the Fermi level are spin-polarized.

Electron bands can spontaneously split into up and down spins. This happens if the relative gain in exchange interaction (the interaction of electrons via the Pauli exclusion principle) is larger than the loss in kinetic energy.

where is the energy of the metal before exchange effects are included, and are the energies of the spin up and down electron bands respectively. The Stoner parameter which is a measure of the strength of the exchange correlation is denoted , the number of electrons is . Finally is the wavenumber as the electrons bands are in wavenumber-space. If more electrons favour one of the states this will create magnetism. The electrons obey Fermi–Dirac statistics so when the above formulas are summed over all -space then the Stoner criterion for ferromagnetism can be established.

Selected publications[edit]

  • The distribution of electrons among atomic levels, Philosophical Magazine (6th series) 48 (1924), pp. 719–736.
  • The limiting density of white dwarf stars, Philosophical Magazine (7th series) 7 (1929), pp. 63–70.
  • The equilibrium of dense stars, Philosophical Magazine (7th series) 9 (1930), pp. 944–963.
  • Magnetism and atomic structure, London: Methuen, 1926.
  • Magnetism and matter, London: Methuen, 1934.
  • Collective electron ferromagnetism in metals and alloys, Journal de physique et le radium (8th series) 12 (1951), pp. 372–388.


  1. ^ a b c d Bates, L. F. (1969). "Edmund Clifton Stoner 1899-1968". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 15: 201–226. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1969.0011. 
  2. ^ Stoner, E. C. (1939). "Collective Electron Ferromagnetism. II. Energy and Specific Heat". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 169 (938): 339. Bibcode:1939RSPSA.169..339S. doi:10.1098/rspa.1939.0003. 
  3. ^ Stoner, E. C. (1938). "Collective Electron Ferromagnetism". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 165 (922): 372. Bibcode:1938RSPSA.165..372S. doi:10.1098/rspa.1938.0066. 
  4. ^ Stoner, E. C. (1936). "Collective Electron Specific Heat and Spin Paramagnetism in Metals". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 154 (883): 656. Bibcode:1936RSPSA.154..656S. doi:10.1098/rspa.1936.0075. 
  5. ^ Stoner, E. C. (1935). "The Temperature Dependence of Free Electron Susceptibility". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 152 (877): 672. Bibcode:1935RSPSA.152..672S. doi:10.1098/rspa.1935.0214. 
  6. ^ Stoner, E. C.; Martin, L. H. (1925). "The Absorption of X-Rays". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 107 (742): 312. Bibcode:1925RSPSA.107..312S. doi:10.1098/rspa.1925.0026. 
  7. ^ Ahmad, N.; Stoner, E. C. (1924). "On the Absorption and Scattering of Formula-Rays". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 106 (735): 8. Bibcode:1924RSPSA.106....8A. doi:10.1098/rspa.1924.0050. 
  8. ^ Nauenberg, Michael (2008). "Edmund C. Stoner and the Discovery of the Maximum Mass of White Dwarfs" (PDF). J. for the History of Astronomy. xxxix. 
  9. ^ Edmund Clifton Stoner, web page at the University of Leeds. Retrieved 21 December 2008.
  10. ^ List of papers, collection at the Leeds University Library. Retrieved 18 January 2007.
  11. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 22 October 2010. [permanent dead link]