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Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

John William Strutt Rayleigh

Photo

Dates

Novemeber 12, 1842 – June 30, 1919

Authorized Form of Name

Rayleigh, John William Strutt, Baron, 1842-1919

Additional Forms of Names

Rayleigh, John William Strutt, 1842-1919

Rayleigh, John William Strutt, Lord, 1842-1919

Strutt, John William, Baron Rayleigh, 1842-1919

Biography

Abstract

Baron John William Strutt Rayleigh, better known as Lord Rayleigh, was awarded the 1904 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his investigations of the densities of the most important gases and for his discovery of argon in connection with these studies." Although he held positions at Cambridge University, much of his research was conducted in his own personal laboratory on his family estate in Terling, England. He is best known for his part in the discovery of the element Argon, but his work covered a wide range of subjects within the field, including acoustics and the theory of sound, electromagnetism, and even the theory of color and optics.

Important Dates

November 12, 1842Birth, Maldon (England).

1864Awarded Smith's Prize, Cambridge University, Cambridge (England).

1865Obtained BA degree, Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cambridge (England).

1865Named Senior Wrangler, the top student of the Mathematical Tripos, Cambridge University, Cambridge (England).

1866Elected Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cambridge (England).

1868Obtained MA degree, Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cambridge (England).

1873Inherited his father's title and became the 3rd Baron Rayleigh.

1873 – 1908Fellow (1873); Secretary (1885); and President (1905-1908) Royal Society.

1876 – 1878President, London Mathematical Society.

1877 – 1878Published two volumes of his famous text, "The Theory of Sound".

1879 – 1884Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics, Cambridge University, Cambridge (England).

1882Awarded the Royal Medal, Royal Society.

1887 – 1905Professor of Natural Philosophy, Royal Institute, London (England).

1892 – 1901Lord Lieutenant of Essex.

1894Awarded the Matteucci Medal, Italian Society of Sciences.

1894Awarded the De Morgan Medal, London Mathematical Society.

1896 – 1919Scientific Advisor, Trinity House.

1897Member, Swedish Academy of Sciences.

1899Awarded the Copley Medal, Royal Society.

1902Received the Order of Merit.

1904Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, "for his investigations of the densities of the most important gases and for his discovery of argon in connection with these studies".

1908Chancellor, Cambridge University, Cambridge (England).

1913Awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal, Franklin Institute.

1914Awarded the Rumford Medal, Royal Society.

1919President, Society for Psychical Research, London (England).

June 30, 1919Death, Terling (England).

Occupation

Physicist.

Places

Birth

Maldon (England)

Undergraduate Education

Cambridge (England)

Graduate Education

Cambridge (England)

Employment

Cambridge (England)

Death

Terling (England)

Subjects

Atmospheric physics.

Electromagnetism.

Gas dynamics.

Hydrodynamics.

Materials science.

Molecular structure.

Optics.

Philosophy and science.

Solitons.

Sound.

Relationships

People

Family

Balfour, Evelyn

Wife, married 1871.

Rayleigh, Robert John Strutt, Baron, 1875-1947

Son and 4th Baron Rayleigh.

Advisors & Collaborators

Bose, Jagadis Chandra, 1858-1937

Advised by Rayleigh at Cambridge University.

Ramsay, William, 1852-1916

Collaborated to discover the element Argon.

Routh, Edward John

Advisor at Trinity College, Cambridge University.

Schuster, Arthur, Sir, 1851-1934

Advised by Rayleigh at Cambridge University.

Thomson, J. J. (Joseph John), 1856-1940

Advised by Rayleigh at Cambridge University.

Additional

Bohr, Niels, 1885-1962

Bragg, William Henry, 1862-1942

Buckingham, Edgar, 1867-1940

Howard, John N.

Lindsay, Robert Bruce, 1900-

Lodge, Oliver, Sir, 1851-1940.

Maxwell, James Clerk, 1831-1879

Michelson, Albert A. (Albert Abraham), 1852-1931

Morley, Edward Williams, 1838-1923

Rutherford, Ernest, 1871-1937

Severinghaus, Willard L. (Willard Lesly), 1882-1947

Shankland, Robert S., 1908-

Stokes, George Gabriel, 1819-1903

Whiting, Sarah Frances

Wood, Robert Williams, 1868-1955

Institutions

Major Positions

Royal Institution (Great Britain).

Professor of Natural Philosophy.

University of Cambridge

Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics and Chancellor.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

Accademia nazionale delle scienze dette dei XL

Awarded the Matteucci Award (1894).

Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal (1913).

Kungl. Svenska vetenskapsakademien

Member.

London Mathematical Society

President and awarded the De Morgan Medal (1890).

Royal Society (Great Britain)

Fellow; Secretary; President and awarded the Royal Medal (1882), Copley Medal (1899), and Rumford Medal (1914).

Royal Society of Arts (Great Britain)

Awarded the Albert Medal (1905).

Society for Psychical Research (Great Britain)

President.

Trinity College (University of Cambridge)

Received BA degree (1865) and MA degree (1868). Named Senior Wrangler (1865); awarded Smith's Prize (1864); and Fellow.

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

Baron John William Strutt Rayleigh papers, 1860-1870.

John Rylands University Library

University of Manchester

150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH, England, UK

Baron John William Strutt Rayleigh papers, 1864-1919 [microfilm].

Phillips Laboratory. Geophysics Directorate. Research Library.

United States Air Force

Hanscom Air Force Base, MA 01731, USA

Baron John William Strutt Rayleigh papers, 1871-1919

private

Royal Commision on Historical Manuscripts

Quality House, Quality Court, Chancery Lane, London

Baron John William Strutt Rayleigh papers.

Royal Institution of Great Britain

London, Englank UK

Items in various series of The Royal Society, 1870-1908

Royal Society

6 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG, England UK

John William Strutt Rayleigh papers [microform], 1864-1919.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Willard L. Severinghaus papers, 1895-1947.

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Columbia University

Butler Library, 6th Floor East, New York, NY 10027, USA

Subject

Albert Michelson papers, 1803-1989 (bulk 1861-1965).

Nimitz Library Special Collections Division

United States Naval Academy

Annapolis, MD 21402, USA

Arthur Schuster letter to John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, 1880.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Baron Robert John Strutt Rayleigh notebooks, 1910-1947 [microform].

Phillips Laboratory. Geophysics Directorate. Research Library.

United States Air Force

Hanscom Air Force Base, MA 01731, USA

Edgar Buckingham handwritten transcripts of correspondence with Lord John William Rayleigh, 1915-1916.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Edward Williams Morley papers, 1833-1923 (bulk 1863-1899).

Manuscript Division

Library of Congress

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

John William Strutt Rayleigh and Robert John Strutt Rayleigh collection, 1865-1976.

Library. Special Collections Brance

United States Air Force Academy

Colorado Springs, CO 80840-5701, USA

Lord Rayleigh typescript notes and abstracts, circa 1924-1945.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oliver Lodge correspondence, 1874- 1938.

Archive

University College of London

Gower Street, London WCIE 6BT

Oral history interview with Niels Bohr, 1962 October 31, November 1, 7, 14, and 17.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Robert S. Shankland, 1974 August 20 and 21.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Sarah Frances Whiting papers, 1859-1927.

Archives

Wellesley College

Margaret Clapp Library, Wellesley, MA 02481, USA

William Henry Bragg papers, 1889-1960.

Royal Institution of Great Britain

London, Englank UK

Published Resources

Author

Die theorie des schalles / von J.W. Strutt, baron Rayleigh : Autorisirte deutsche ausg. Uebersetzt von dr. Fr. Neesen : Mit in den text eingedruckten holzstichen.

Mathematical and physical papers / by George Gabriel Stokes ... Reprinted from the original journals and transactions, with additional notes by the author.

On the light from the sky, its polarization and colour, 1870.

Scientific papers.

The theory of sound. By John William Strutt, Baron Rayleigh

Theory of heat / by J. Clerk Maxwell.

Subject

American Physical Society: This Month in Physics History: Lord Rayleigh and the Discovery of Argon: August 13, 1894

John William Strutt, third baron Rayleigh, O.M., F.R.S., sometime president of the Royal society and chancellor of the University of Cambridge / by his son Robert John Strutt, fourth baron Rayleigh.

Life of John William Strutt, Third Baron Rayleigh, O.M., F.R.S., by Robert John Strutt, Fourth Baron Rayleigh.

Lord Rayleigh Biography.

Lord Rayleigh Nobel Prize biography.

Men of physics: Lord Rayleigh- the man and his work.

Optics & Photonics News: Lord Rayleigh: A Scientific Life

The Rayleigh Archives dedication / [By] J. N. Howard, editor.