Menu ☰

Back to Top

Physics History Network

Over 1000 biographies of physicists and histories of institutions with information pertaining to their lives, careers, and research.

Tip: Search within this page by using Ctrl + F or ⌘ + F


Search Our Catalogs

Archives Books

Collections

Emilio Segré Visual Archives Digital Collections Oral Histories Archival Finding Aids Physics History Network

Preservation and Support

Donating Materials Saving Archival Collections Grants to Archives Documentation Projects History Newsletters

Center for History of Physics

Scholarship & Outreach

Main Navigation

HomeAboutTopic GuidesFeedback

Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

John Cockcroft

Photo

Dates

May 27, 1897 – September 18, 1967

Authorized Form of Name

Cockcroft, John, Sir, 1897-1967

Additional Forms of Names

Cockcroft, John, 1897-1967

Cockcroft, John Douglas, 1897-1967

Cockcroft, John Douglas, Sir, 1897-1967

Biography

Abstract

John Cockcroft was a nuclear physicist at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment. He and Ernest T.S. Walton were jointly awarded the 1951 Nobel Prize in Physics "for their pioneer work on the transmutation of atomic nuclei by artificially accelerated atomic particles."

Important Dates

May 27, 1897Birth, Todmorden (England).

1914 – 1915Studied Mathematics, Manchester University, Manchester (England).

1922Obtained BSc in Technology degree, College of Technology, University of Manchester, Manchester (England).

1924Research Student, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge (England).

1924Obtained BA in Mathematical Tripos Part II, St. John's College, Cambridge (England).

1927Associate Member, Institution of Electrical Engineers.

1928Obtained PhD in Physics, St. John's College, Cambridge (England).

1929 – 1935Fellow, St. John's College, Cambridge (England).

1933Fellow, Institute of Physics.

1935Appointed Director of Research, Mond Laboratory.

1936Fellow, Royal Society.

1939Assistant Director, Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Scientific Research Ministry of Supply.

1939 – 1946Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge (England).

1941Member, Institution of Electrical Engineers.

1944 – 1946Director, Montreal and Chalk River Laboratories, Montréal (Québec).

1947Awarded Medal of Freedom.

1948Knighted.

1951Awarded Hughes Medal.

1951Awarded Nobel Prize in Physics with Ernest T.S. Walton "for their pioneer work on the transmutation of atomic nuclei by artificially accelerated atomic particles".

1952 – 1954Chairman, Ministry of Defense (Great Britain).

1954Awarded Royal Medal.

1954 – 1956President, Institute of Physics.

1954 – 1959Scientific Research Member, UK Atomic Energy Authority.

1955Awarded Faraday Medal.

1957Awarded Order of Merit Award.

1961Awarded Atoms of Peace Award.

1961 – 1963President, British Association for the Advancement of Science.

September 18, 1967Death, Cambridge (England).

Occupation

Accelerators and nuclear physicist.

Places

Birth

Todmorden (England)

Undergraduate Education

Cambridge (England)

Graduate Education

Manchester (England)

Employment

Cambridge (England)

Montréal (Québec)

Death

Cambridge (England)

Subjects

Accelerators -- Design and construction.

Accelerators.

Atomic and molecular physics.

Nuclear physics.

Radioactivity.

Relationships

People

Family

Cockcroft, Eunice Elizabeth Crabtree

Wife.

Advisors & Collaborators

Krishnan, R. S. (Rappal Sangameswara)

Advised by Cockcroft at Cavendish Laboratory.

Rutherford, Ernest, 1871-1937

PhD advisor at University of Cambridge.

Walton, Ernest, 1903-1995

Awarded 1951 Nobel Prize in Physics with Cockcroft "for their pioneer work on the transmutation of atomic nuclei by artificially accelerated atomic particles."

Additional

Allibone, T. E.

Bainbridge, Kenneth T. (Kenneth Tompkins), 1904-1996

Bitter, Francis, 1902-1967

Bohr, Niels, 1885-1962

Boyce, Joseph Canon, 1903-

Bragg, William Lawrence, Sir, 1890-1971

Briggs, George Henry

Brose, Henry L. (Henry Leopold), 1890-

Casimir, H. B. G. (Hendrik Brugt Gerhard), 1909-2000

Chadwick, James, 1891-1974

Crane, H. R. (Horace Richard), 1907-2007

Cunningham, Ebenezer

Dee, Philip Ivor, 1904-1983

DuBridge, Lee A. (Lee Alvin), 1901-1994

Evans, Robley Dunglison, 1907-

Gamow, Barbara, 1905-1976

Gamow, George, 1904-1968

Gell-Mann, Murray

Gentner, Wolfgang, 1906-1980

Goldhaber, Maurice, 1911-2011

Jones, H. Spencer (Harold Spencer), 1890-1960

Kapitsa, P. L. (Petr Leonidovich), 1894-1984

Kempton, Albert Ernest, 1911-2000

Kowarski, Lew

Kurchatov, I. V. (Igorʹ Vasilʹevich), 1903-1960

Lamb, Horace, Sir, 1849-1934

Lauritsen, Charles Christian, 1892-1968

Lawrence, Ernest Orlando, 1901-1958

Livingston, M. Stanley (Milton Stanley)

Mitchell, Joseph S. (Joseph Stanley)

Morse, Philip M. (Philip McCord), 1903-1985

Newman, M. H. A. (Maxwell Herman Alexander), 1897-

Occhialini, Giuseppe, 1907-1993

Oliphant, Mark, 1901-2000

Pegram, George Braxton, 1876-1958

Placzek, G. (George), 1905-1955

Rank, D. H. (David Herr), 1907-1981

Rank, J. Arthur, 1888-1972

Richardson, O. W. (Owen Willans), 1879-1959

Rosenfeld, L. (Leon), 1904-1974

Rotblat, Joseph, 1908-2005

Runcorn, S. K.

Snow, C. P. (Charles Percy), 1905-1980

Tamm, I. E. (Igor' Evgen'evich), 1895-1971

Tuve, Merle Antony, 1901-1982

Van de Graaf, Robert Jemison, 1901-1967

Walton, Alan J.

Waly, Adnan

Wertenstein, Ludwik, 1887-1945

Woolley, Richard van der Riet, Sir

Institutions

Major Positions

Atomic Energy Research Establishment (Harwell, England)

Assistant Director.

Cavendish Laboratory (Cambridge, England)

Research Student.

Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories

Assistant Director.

Great Britain. Ministry of Defense

Chairman.

St. John's College (University of Cambridge)

Obtained BA in Mathematical Tripos Part II (1924) and PhD in Physics (1928). Fellow.

University of Cambridge

Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

British Association for the Advancement of Science

President.

Institute of Physics (Great Britain)

Fellow and President.

Institution of Electrical Engineers

Associate Member and Member.

Royal Society (Great Britain)

Fellow.

United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority

Scientific Research Member.

University of California, Berkeley. Department of Physics

University of Manchester

Studied Mathematics and obtained MSc in Technology degree, College of Technology.

University of Oxford. Alembic Club

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

International Science and Technology Journal interviews, 1962-1967.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

John Cockroft correspondence, 1940-1967.

Manuscript Division

Library of Congress

James Madison Memorial Building, First Street and Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20540, USA

Oral history interview with Sir John Cockcroft, 1963 May 2.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Sir John Cockcroft, 1967 March 28.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Private office papers, 1939-1961.

Great Britain. National Archives.

Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU, UK

Sir John Cockcroft papers, 1872-1985.

Archives Centre

Churchill College

Cambridge CB3 0DS

United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority records, 1939-1999.

Great Britain. National Archives.

Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU, UK

Subject

Albert Kempton papers and correspondence, circa 1930-2000.

Department of Manuscripts and University Archives

Cambridge University

West Road, Cambridge, CH3 9DR

Archive for the History of Quantum Physics, 1898-1950 (bulk).

Library

American Philosophical Society

105 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA

Atomic physics [sound recording]: sound track of the film / produced by J. Arthur Rank for the Atomic Energy Commission, 1948.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Atoms for Peace Award records, 1944-1972.

Institute Archives and Special Collections

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

M.I.T. Libraries, Rm. 14N-118, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

B. C. Browne papers, 1949.

Archives Centre

Churchill College

Cambridge CB3 0DS

C. P. Snow collection, 1931-1980.

Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

University of Texas at Austin

P.O. Drawer 7219, Austin, TX 78713-7219, USA

Charles David King collection for his thesis "Chadwick, Liverpool and the bomb" (1997).

Sydney Jones Library. Special Collections and Archives

University of Liverpool

P. O. Box 123, Liverpool L69 3DA

Ernest Rutherford correspondence [microform], 1906-1937.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Ernest Walton papers, 1921-circa 1980s.

Trinity College Library (Ireland)

College St. Dublin, Ireland

Files of Ludwik Wertenstein, 1908-1944.

Archiwum (Warszawa)

Polska Akademia Nauk

Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warsaw, Poland

Francis Bitter papers, 1925-1967.

Institute Archives and Special Collections

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

M.I.T. Libraries, Rm. 14N-118, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

George and Barbara Gamow papers, 1915-1975 (bulk 1950-1975).

Manuscript Division

Library of Congress

James Madison Memorial Building, First Street and Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20540, USA

George Henry Briggs papers, 1868-1983.

Manuscript Section

National Library of Australia

Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

George Placzek papers, 1934-1955, undated.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

H. B. G. Casimir papers, 1929-2000.

Rijksarchief in Noord-Holland

Kleine Houtweg 18, Haarlem, Netherlands

Henry Brose correspondence, 1910-1939.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Igor E. Tamm papers, 1921-1971.

contact Tamm family

In private hands

Moscow

Igor V. Kurchatov papers.

Kurchatov Museum.

Kurchatov, I. V., Institute of Atomic Energy.

ul. Kurchatova, 46, Moscow 123182, Russia

Joseph Canon Boyce correspondence with John Cockcroft, 1938-1940.

Archives Centre

Churchill College

Cambridge CB3 0DS

Joseph S. Mitchell papers, 1924-1988.

Department of Manuscripts and University Archives

Cambridge University

West Road, Cambridge, CH3 9DR

Lee A. DuBridge papers, 1932-1986.

Institute Archives

California Institute of Technology

1201 East California Blvd. (Mail Code 015A-74), Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

M. H. A. Newman papers, 1916-1984.

The Library

St. John's College

Cambridge CB2 1TP

Murray Gell-Mann papers, 1931-2001 (bulk 1955-1993).

Institute Archives

California Institute of Technology

1201 East California Blvd. (Mail Code 015A-74), Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

Niels Bohr scientific correspondence, 1903-1962.

Niels Bohr Archive

Blegdamsvej 17, Copenhagen, Denmark

O. W. Richardson papers, 1897-1959 (bulk 1920-1940).

Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

University of Texas at Austin

P.O. Drawer 7219, Austin, TX 78713-7219, USA

Oral history interview with Adnan Waly, 1990 November 12.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Adnan Waly, 1994 February-March.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Alan J. Walton, 2014 May 21.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Ebenezer Cunningham, 1963 June 19.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with George Gamow, 1968 April 25 and 26.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Giuseppe Occhialini, 1971 April 5, 6, May 16, 17, and November 18.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with H. R. Crane, 1973 March 28 and 1974 June 18.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Kenneth Bainbridge, 1991 June 10.

IEEE Global History Center

Rutgers University

39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA

Oral history interview with Leon Rosenfeld, 1968 September 3.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Lew Kowarski, 1969 March 20, October 19, 20, 21, 1970 May 3, 14, 1971 May 15 and November 20.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Maurice Goldhaber, 1967 January 10.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Milton Stanley Livingston, 1967 August 21.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral History interview with Philip I. Dee, 1971 November 5.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Robley D. Evans, 1972 May 2, 3, 1974 May 5 and 1978 June 14.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with S. Keith Runcorn, 1993 September 16 and 17.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Sir Mark Oliphant, 1971 November 3.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Wolfgang Gentner, 1971 November 15.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Petr L. Kapitsa papers, 1920.

Institute of Physical Problems.

ul. A. N. Kosygina 2, Moscow 117973, Russia

Phillip M. Morse autobiographical data, circa 1962.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Piotr Leonidovich Kapitza papers, 1900-1994.

Archives Centre

Churchill College

Cambridge CB3 0DS

Reminiscences about accelerators: Brookhaven lecture, 1980.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Richard van der Riet Woolley papers, 1947-1975.

Department of Manuscripts and University Archives

Royal Greenwich Observation Archives

Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR, England UK

Robert Van de Graaff papers, 1928-1948 (bulk 1943-1946).

Institute Archives and Special Collections

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

M.I.T. Libraries, Rm. 14N-118, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Royal Observatory papers of Harold Spencer Jones, 1920-1968.

Department of Manuscripts and University Archives

Royal Greenwich Observation Archives

Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR, England UK

Scientific correspondence [microform], 1907-1962.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Sir William Lawrence Bragg papers.

Royal Institution of Great Britain

London, Englank UK

Tallahassee Democrat obituary notice for Niels Bohr, 1962.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

University of Oxford. Alembic Club records, 1904-1973.

Museum of the History of Science

Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3AZ

Published Resources

Author

Atoms and the universe: an account of modern views on the structure of matter and the universe/ by G.O. Jones, J. Rotblat, G.J. Whitrow; with a prefatory note by Sir John Cockcroft.

The Development of radiation chemistry and radiochemistry: Eighth Dalton lecture.

The organization of research establishments.

Subject

Cockcroft and the atom/ Guy Hartcup and T.E. Allibone.

Encyclopaedia Britannica - Sir John Douglas Cockcroft

John Cockcroft Nobel Prize biography.