H. Stanley Allen

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Herbert Stanley Allen
Born (1873-12-29)29 December 1873
Bodmin, Cornwall, England
Died 27 April 1954(1954-04-27) (aged 80)
Balblair, Ross-shire, Scotland
Nationality English
Citizenship United Kingdom
Alma mater
Known for
Awards Fellow of the Royal Society, 1930[1]
Makdougall Brisbane prize, 1924
Scientific career
Fields Physicist
Doctoral advisor J. J. Thomson
Harold A. Wilson
Charles Glover Barkla

Herbert Stanley Allen FRSE FRS[1] (29 December 1873 – 27 April 1954) was an English physicist noted as a pioneer in early X-ray research, working under J. J. Thomson at the University of London and alongside Nobel laureate Charles Glover Barkla at the University of Edinburgh. A supporter of the Parson magneton, Allen was also an early contributor to the field of quantum mechanics.[1]


Allen was born in Bodmin in Cornwall, the son of Rev Richard Allen, a Wesleyan Methodist Minister. He attended John Wesley's School in Bath, Somerset.[2]

As an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge, Allen shared Whewell’s Court with fellow pupil Edmund Whittaker, earning his Mathematics B.A. there in 1896.[3] After working at Cavendish Laboratory, Allen returned to Cambridge in 1898 to conduct research under J. J. Thomson on the motion of spheres through viscous fluids, useful in the determination of the elementary unit of charge. In 1900 he moved to Renfrew, where he researched spectral photography, the Zeeman effect, and radioactivity under Lord Blythwood. He was appointed lecturer in 1905 at King's College London where he obtained a D.Sc. in 1909 for his work on the discharge of electricity through gases.[4] He conducted this work under Harold A. Wilson and contemporary Charles Glover Barkla, whom he followed to the University of Edinburgh in 1919.

Allen’s 1913 book, "Photo-electricity",[5] was an early contribution to the study of radiation, focusing on his earlier work in photoelectric fatigue.[6] He then wrote a series of papers concerned with structure of the atom based on its magnetic and spectral properties.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] Beginning in 1919, he contributed a series of articles favoring a modified version of the Parson magneton, a physical model for the electron originally proposed in 1915[15][16][17] Quantum theory was then in its infancy and Allen’s contributions were among the earliest to the subject.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24]

Fellow academic Sir D’Arcy Thompson said of him, "Perhaps he does not realize how strongly he has endeared himself to his colleagues and his students by his own personality, his faith and vision…"[25] Allen died 27 April 1954 at the home of his daughter in Balblair, Ross-shire, Scotland.


  1. ^ a b c Wilson, William (1955). "Herbert Stanley Allen. 1873-1954". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 1: 5–5. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1955.0002. JSTOR 769239.
  2. ^ http://www.royalsoced.org.uk/cms/files/fellows/biographical_index/fells_indexp1.pdf
  3. ^ "Allen, Herbert Stanley (ALN893HS)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ H. Stanley Allen, "Some Problems Connected with the Discharge of Electricity in Gases", King's College London (1909).
  5. ^ H. Stanley Allen, Photo-electricity: the Liberation of Electrons by Light (London: Longmans Green 1913).
  6. ^ H. Stanley Allen (Oct 1910). "The Photoelectric Fatigue of Metals". Philosophical Magazine. 20 (118): 564–573. doi:10.1080/14786441008636939.
  7. ^ H. Stanley Allen (Jan 1915). "The Magnetic Field of an Atom in Relation to Theories of Spectral Series". Philosophical Magazine. 29 (169): 40–49. doi:10.1080/14786440108635279.
  8. ^ H. Stanley Allen (Jan 1915). "The Series Spectrum of Hydrogen and the Structure of the Atom". Philosophical Magazine. 29 (169): 140–143. doi:10.1080/14786440108635287.
  9. ^ H. Stanley Allen (May 1915). "An Atomic Model with a Magnetic Core". Philosophical Magazine. 29 (173): 714–724. doi:10.1080/14786440508635353.
  10. ^ H. Stanley Allen (Dec 1917). "Atomic Frequency and Atomic Number: Frequency Formulae with Empirical Constants". Philosophical Magazine. 34 (204): 478–487. doi:10.1080/14786441708565205.
  11. ^ H. Stanley Allen (Dec 1917). "Electronic Frequency and Atomic Number". Philosophical Magazine. 34 (204): 488–496. doi:10.1080/14786441708565206.
  12. ^ H. Stanley Allen (Apr 1918). "Molecular Frequency and Molecular Number". Philosophical Magazine. 35 (208): 338–349. doi:10.1080/14786440408635769.
  13. ^ H. Stanley Allen (May 1918). "Molecular Frequency and Molecular Number. Part II. The Frequency of the Longer Residual Rays". Philosophical Magazine. 35 (209): 404–409. doi:10.1080/14786440508635779.
  14. ^ H. Stanley Allen (Jun 1918). "Molecular Frequency and Molecular Number. Part III. Inorganic compounds. Lindemann's Formula". Philosophical Magazine. 35 (210): 445–480. doi:10.1080/14786440608635787.
  15. ^ H. Stanley Allen (Dec 1918). "The Case for a Ring Electron". Proceedings of the Physical Society. 31: 49–68. Bibcode:1918PPSL...31...49A. doi:10.1088/1478-7814/31/1/303..
  16. ^ H. Stanley Allen (Oct 1920). "Optical Rotation, Optical Isomerism, and the Ring Electron". Philosophical Magazine. 40 (238): 426–439. doi:10.1080/14786441008636143.
  17. ^ H. Stanley Allen (Jan 1921). "The Angular Momentum and Some Related Properties of the Ring Electron". Philosophical Magazine. 41 (241): 113–120. doi:10.1080/14786442108636201.
  18. ^ H. Stanley Allen (1921). "Aether and the Quantum Theory". Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 41 (3): 34.
  19. ^ H. Stanley Allen (Oct 1921). "Faraday's 'Magnetic Lines' as Quanta. Part I". Philosophical Magazine. 42 (250): 523–537. doi:10.1080/14786442108633794.
  20. ^ H. Stanley Allen (Sep 1924). "Faraday's 'Magnetic Lines' as Quanta. Part II". Philosophical Magazine. 48 (285): 429–445. doi:10.1080/14786442408634507.
  21. ^ H. Stanley Allen (May 1925). "Quantum Magnetic Tubes in Rotation". Philosophical Magazine. 49 (293): 981–992. doi:10.1080/14786442508634676.
  22. ^ H. Stanley Allen (Aug 1930). "Magnetism and the Quantum Theory". Proceedings of the Physical Society. 42 (5): 372–378. Bibcode:1930PPS....42..372A. doi:10.1088/0959-5309/42/5/303..
  23. ^ H. Stanley Allen, The Quantum and its Interpretation, (London: Methuen & Co. 1928).
  24. ^ H. Stanley Allen, Electrons and Waves: An Introduction to Atomic Physics (London: Macmillan 1932).
  25. ^ D’Arcy Thompson, ‘’Minutes of the Meeting of the Senatus Acadamicus’’, (29 Jun 1944).