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Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

J. J. Thomson

Photo

Dates

December 18, 1856 – August 30, 1940

Authorized Form of Name

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

Additional Forms of Names

Thomson, J. J., 1856-1940

Thomson, Joseph John, 1856-1940

Thomson, Joseph John, Sir, 1856-1940

Biography

Abstract

J. J. Thomson was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1906 "in recognition of the great merits of his theoretical and experimental investigations on the conduction of electricity by gases." He was affiliated with University of Cambridge his entire career, first getting his education there and later holding positions such as Lecturer, Master of Trinity College, and Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics. He is credited with discovering the electron, but his work covered a wide variety of areas like electricity and gases, magnetism, light, and properties of matter.

Important Dates

December 18, 1856Birth, Manchester (England).

1880Obtained BA degree in Mathematics, Trinity College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge (England).

1880 – 1918Fellow; Lecturer; Master, Trinity College; and Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge (England).

1883Obtained MA degree in Mathematics, Trinity College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge (England).

1884Fellow, Royal Society.

1894Awarded the Royal Medal, Royal Society.

1902Awarded the Hodgkins Medal, Smithsonian Institute.

1902Awarded the Hughes Medal, Royal Society.

1906Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics "in recognition of the great merits of his theoretical and experimental investigations on the conduction of electricity by gases".

1908Knighted.

1909President, British Science Association.

1914Awarded the Copley Medal, Royal Society.

1920President, Royal Society.

1923Awarded the Franklin Medal and the Scott Medal, Franklin Institute.

1931Awarded the Dalton Medal, Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society.

1938Awarded the Faraday Medal, Institute of Civil Engineers.

August 30, 1940Death, Cambridge (England).

Occupation

Atomic physicist.

Places

Birth

Manchester (England)

Undergraduate Education

Cambridge (England)

Graduate Education

Cambridge (England)

Employment

Cambridge (England)

Death

Cambridge (England)

Subjects

Atomic and molecular physics.

Cathode rays.

Electricity.

Electron models.

Gas dynamics.

Magnetism.

Relationships

People

Family

Thomson, G. P. (George Paget), 1892-1975

Son and advised by J. J. Thomson at Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge.

Advisors & Collaborators

Appleton, Edward Victor, Sir, 1892-1965

Advised by Thomson under Wiltshire Prize and Hutchinson Research Studentship.

Aston, Francis William, 1877-1945

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge. Aston served as Thomson's assistant and both employed at Cavendish Laboratory.

Barkla, C. G. (Charles Glover), 1877-1944

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Born, Max, 1882-1970

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Bose, Devendramohan

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Bragg, William Lawrence, Sir, 1890-1971

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Burton, E. F. (Eli Franklin)

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Callender, Hugh Longbourne

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Davis, Bergen, 1869-1958

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Davisson, Clinton Joseph, 1881-1958

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Ditchburn, R. W.

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Hughes, Arthur Llewelyn, 1883-

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

James, R. W. (Reginald William)

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Keys, D. A. (David Arnold), 1890-

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Laby, T. H. (Thomas Howell)

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Langevin, Paul, 1872-1946

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Lyman, Theodore, 1874-1954

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

McLennan, John Cunningham, Sir

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Natanson, Wladyslaw, 1864-1937

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Niven, W. D. (William Davidson), Sir, 1842-1917

Advisor at University of Cambridge.

Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Pol, Balthasar van der, 1889-1959

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Poynting, J. H. (John Henry), 1852-1914

Collaborated on textbook "Properties of Matter."

Pringsheim, Peter, 1881-1963

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Rayleigh, John William Strutt, Baron, 1842-1919

Advisor at University of Cambridge.

Rayleigh, Robert John Strutt, Baron, 1875-1947

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

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

Advised by Thomson at Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge.

Routh, Edward John

Advisor at University of Cambridge.

Rutherford, Ernest, 1871-1937

Advised by Thomson at Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge.

Stewart, Balfour

Advisor at Owens College, University of Manchester.

Taylor, Geoffrey Ingram, 1886-1975

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Townsend, John, Sir, 1868-1957

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Watson, Herbert Edmeston

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Whiddington, Richard

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Wilson, Charles Thomson Rees, 1869-1959

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Wilson, Harold A. (Harold Albert), 1874-1964

Advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge.

Zeleny, John, 1872-

Research advised by Thomson at University of Cambridge, B.A. thesis: "The Velocity of the Ions produced in Gases by Röntgen Rays."

Additional

Bassett, Alfred Barnard, 1854-1930

Beck, Guido, 1903-1988

Becquerel, Henri, 1852-1908

Bohr, Margrethe

Bohr, Niels, 1885-1962

Both employed at Cavendish Laboratory.

Chadwick, James, 1891-1974

Cockcroft, John, Sir, 1897-1967

Compton, Betty Charity McCloskey, 1916-

Comstock, Daniel F. (Daniel Frost), 1883-1970

Cunningham, Ebenezer

Curie, Marie, 1867-1934

Curie, Pierre, 1859-1906

Dadourian, H. M. (Haroutune Mugurditch), 1878-1974

Davis, E. A. (Edward Arthur), 1936-

Dirac, P. A. M. (Paul Adrien Maurice), 1902-1984

Duane, William, 1872-1935

Fokker, A. D. (Adriaan Daniël), 1887-1972

Gerlach, Walther, 1889-1979

Gibbs, J. Willard (Josiah Willard), 1839-1903

Grosse, Aristid von, 1905-1985

Havelock, Thomas, Sir

Heaviside, Oliver, 1850-1925

Lockyer, Norman, Sir, 1836-1920

Lummer, O. (Otto), 1860-1925

Maxwell, James Clerk, 1831-1879

McDowell, Louise S. (Louise Sherwood), 1876-1966

McKeehan, L. W. (Louis Williams), 1887-1975

Michell, John Henry

Pegram, George Braxton, 1876-1958

Pohl, Robert Wichard, 1884-1976

Röntgen, Wilhelm Conrad, 1845-1923

Seaborg, Glenn T. (Glenn Theodore), 1912-1999

Shankland, Robert S., 1908-

Shaw, Napier, Sir

Shenstone, A. G. (Allen Goodrich)

Stern, Otto, 1888-1969

Threlfall, Richard

Webb, Harold Worthington, 1884-1974

Wood, A. B. (Albert Beaumont)

Worthington, A. M. (Arthur Mason), 1852-1916

Zeeman, Pieter, 1865-1943

Institutions

Major Positions

British Science Association

President.

Cavendish Laboratory (Cambridge, England)

Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics.

Royal Society (Great Britain)

Fellow and President. Awarded the Royal Medal (1894), the Hughes Medal (1902), and the Copley Medal (1914).

Trinity College (University of Cambridge)

Received B.A. degree in Mathematics (1880) and M.A. degree in Physics (1883). Fellow; Lecturer; and Master.

University of Cambridge. Department of Physics

Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics, Cavendish Laboratory.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Awarded the Franklin Medal and the Scott Medal (1923).

Institution of Civil Engineers (Great Britain)

Awarded the Faraday Medal (1938).

Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society

Awarded the Dalton Medal (1931).

Smithsonian Institution

Awarded the Hodgkins Medal (1902).

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

Archive recording of J.J. Thomson, [videorecording]/ 1934.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, 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

J. J. Thomson handwritten volume of A TREATISE ON THE MOTION OF VORTEX RINGS, 1882.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

J. J. Thomson letters to Ernest Rutherford, 1895-1935.

Department of Manuscripts and University Archives

Cambridge University

West Road, Cambridge, CH3 9DR

J. J. Thomson papers, 1884-1934.

Royal Society

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

J. J. Thomson papers.

Department of Manuscripts and University Archives

Cambridge University

West Road, Cambridge, CH3 9DR

J. J. Thomson's seventieth birthday tribute, 1936.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Lectures, 1910-1911.

Cavendish Laboratory

cambridge

Norman Lockyer letters, 1869-1919.

Library

University of Exeter

Exeter EX4 4PT, England UK.

Nuclear history [sound recording]: voices of the past; compiled by Glenn Seaborg.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

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

Sir J. J. Thomson papers and correspondence, 1836-1956.

Library

Trinity College

Cambridge CB2 1TQ

Subject

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

Library

American Philosophical Society

105 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA

Century of the atom [sound recording]: ...told through the voices of the scientists who created the nuclear age / a presentation of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission ; narrated by Chet Huntley and Glenn T. Seaborg.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Clinton J. Davisson correspondence, 1913-1957.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Daniel F. Comstock autobiography, 1963.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Edmund C. Stoner papers and correspondence, 1909-1969.

Brotherton Library, Department of Special Collections

University of Leeds

Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS2 9JT

Ernest Rutherford correspondence [microform], 1906-1937.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Ernest Rutherford papers, 1908-1933.

Basser Library

Australian Academy of Science

GPO Box 783, Canberra, ACT 2601

Harold A. Wilson autobiographical notes, 1962.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Harold W. Webb autobiography, circa 1962.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Items in various series of The Royal Society, 1882-1899.

Royal Society

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

Items in various series of The Royal Society, 1887-1923.

Royal Society

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

Items in various series of The Royal Society, 1891-1921.

Royal Society

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

John Henry Michell papers, 1884-1890.

Basser Library

Australian Academy of Science

GPO Box 783, Canberra, ACT 2601

Johns Hopkins University Department of Physics records, 1887-1988 (bulk 1949-1969).

Special Collections, Milton S. Eisenhower Library

Johns Hopkins University

3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

Josiah W. Gibbs papers, 1811-1947.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Yale University Library

Box 208240, New Haven, CT 06520, USA

Louis McKeehan autobiography, circa 1970.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Louise S. McDowell papers, 1894-1955.

Archives

Wellesley College

Margaret Clapp Library, Wellesley, MA 02481, USA

Napier Shaw scientific papers.

Department of Manuscripts and University Archives

Cambridge University

West Road, Cambridge, CH3 9DR

Oliver Heaviside selected papers [microform], 1874-1922,

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Adriaan Daniël Fokker, 1963 April 1.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Allen Goodrich Shenstone 1979 March 20.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Aristid Victor Grosse, 1974 January 11 and April 5.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Betty Compton, 1968 April 11 and 15.

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 Guido Beck, 1967 April 22.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Harold A. Wilson, 1964 March 3.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Haroutune Mugurditch Dadourian, 1964 April 4.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with James Chadwick, 1969 April 15, 16, 17 and 20.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Margrethe Norlund Bohr, 1963 January 23 and 30.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

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 Otto Stern, 1962 May 29 and 1963 May 30.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with P. A. M. Dirac, 1962 April 1, 1963 May 6, 7, 10 and 14.

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

Oral history interview with Robert Wichard Pohl, 1963 June 25.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Sir George Paget Thomson, 1963 June 20.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, 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 William Lawrence Bragg, 1969 June 20.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Walther Gerlach, 1963 February 18 and 23.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Otto Lummer correspondence, 1899-1922.

Dept. of Manuscripts

Wroclaw University, Library

Sw. Jadwigi 3/4, 50-266 Wroclaw

Pieter Zeeman papers, 1877-1946.

Rijksarchief in Noord-Holland

Kleine Houtweg 18, Haarlem, Netherlands

Reminiscences of A. B. Wood [sound recording], 1960.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Richard Threlfall correspondence with Sir J. J. Thomson, 1886-1896.

Department of Manuscripts and University Archives

Cambridge University

West Road, Cambridge, CH3 9DR

Robert Wichard Pohl papers, 1900-1973.

Deutsches Museum

Museumsinsel 1, 80306 Munich, Germany

Sir Thomas Havelock papers, 1894-1968.

The Robinson Library

University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HQ

Sir William Lawrence Bragg papers.

Royal Institution of Great Britain

London, England UK

William Duane correspondence with K. T. Compton, Marie and Pierre Curie, Max Planck, Ernest Rutherford, and J. J. Thomson, 1905-1933.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

William Henry Bragg papers, 1889-1960.

Royal Institution of Great Britain

London, England UK

Wladyslaw Natanson correspondence, 1884-1937.

Archiwum

Uniwersytet Jagiellonski. Archiwum.

Ul. sw. Anny 6, 31-007 Kraców, Poland

Published Resources

Author

A text-book of physics / by J.H. Poynting ... and J.J. Thomson ... Properties of matter.

A text-book of physics / by J.H. Poynting ... and J.J. Thomson ... Sound.

A text-book of physics / by J.H. Poynting and Sir J.J. Thomson.

A text-book of physics : By J.H. Poynting and J.J. Thomson. Heat /with 193 illustrations.

A treatise on the motion of vortex rings.

A university textbook of physics : volume I, Properties of matter / by J.H. Poynting and J.J. Thomson ; rev. by G.W. Todd.

Applications of dynamics to physics and chemistry / by J. J. Thomson.

Au dela de l'électron / par Sir J.J. Thomson ; traduit de l'anglais par R. Frie ; préface de M.A. Cotton.

Beyond the electron / by Sir J. J. Thomson.

Conduction of electricity through gases / by J.J. Thomson

Die Entladung der Elektricität Durch Gase / von J.J. Thomson ; Aus dem Englischen übersetzt von Paul Ewers ; Ergänzt und mit einem vorwort versehen von Hermann Ebert.

Electricity and matter / by J.J. Thomson.

Elektrizitat und materie / Von dr. J.J. Thomson ... Autorisierte übersetzung von G. Siebert.

Elektrizitäts-Durchgang in Gasen /by J.J. Thomson ; Deutsche autorisierte ausgabe unter mitwirkung des autors besorgt und ergänzt von Dr. Erich Marx ... mit 187 figuren im text.

Elements of the mathematical theory of electricity and magnetism / by J.J. Thomson.

James Clerk Maxwell; a commemoration volume, 1831-1931; essays by Sir. J.J. Thomson, Max Planck, Albert Einstein [and others]

Notes on recent researches in electricity and magnetism, intended as a sequel to Professor Clerk-Maxwell's Treatise on electricity and magnetism; by J.J. Thomson.

On some applications of dynamical principles to physical phenomena : [part 1]/ by J. J. Thomson.

On some applications of dynamical principles to physical phenomena : part II/ by J. J. Thomson.

Rays of positive electricity and their application to chemical analyses.

Recollections and reflections.

Röntgen rays : memoirs by Röntgen, Stokes, and J.J. Thomson /tr. and ed. by George F. Barker.

Tendencies of recent investigations in the field of physics / by Sir J. J. Thomson.

The atomic theory /by Sir J.J. Thomson ... ; delivered in the Sheldonian theatre, June 10, 1914.

The corpuscular theory of matter / by J.J. Thomson

The discharge of electricity through gases; lectures delivered on the occasion of the sesquicentennial celebration of Princeton University. By J.J. Thomson.

The electron in chemistry : being five lectures delivered at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia / by Sir J.J. Thomson.

Subject

A history of the electron : J.J. and G.P. Thomson /Jaume Navarro, Ikerbasque research professor, Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea.

Flash of the cathode rays : a history of J.J. Thomson's electron / Per D. Dahl.

Histories of the electron : the birth of microphysics /edited by Jed Z. Buchwald and Andrew Warwick.

J. J. Thomson discoverer of the electron.

J. J. Thomson Nobel Prize biography.

J.J. Thomson and the Cavendish Laboratory in his day.

J.J. Thomson and the discovery of the electron /E.A. Davis and I.J. Falconer.

The life of Sir J.J. Thomson, O.M., sometime master of Trinity college, Cambridge, by Lord Rayleigh.