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Encyclopedia > Ernest Walton
Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton

Born October 6, 1903(1903-10-06)
Dungarvan, Ireland
Died June 25, 1995
Belfast, Ireland
Nationality Republic of Ireland; United Kingdom
Field Physicist
Institutions Trinity College Dublin
University of Cambridge
Known for The first disintegration of an atomic nucleus by artificially accelerated protons ("splitting the atom")
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physics (1951)
Religious stance Methodist

Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton (October 6, 1903June 25, 1995) was an Irish physicist and Nobel laureate for his work with John Cockcroft with "atom-smashing" experiments done at Cambridge University in the early 1930s. Walton is the only Irishman to have won a Nobel Prize in science. is the 279th day of the year (280th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1903 (MCMIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... WGS-84 (GPS) Coordinates: , Irish Grid Reference X259930 Statistics Province: Munster County: Elevation: 1m (3 ft) Population (2002)  - Town:  - Rural:   7,220  232 Website: www. ... is the 176th day of the year (177th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full 1995 Gregorian calendar). ... This article is about the city in Northern Ireland. ... Not to be confused with physician, a person who practices medicine. ... The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin or more commonly Trinity College, Dublin (TCD) was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, is the only constituent college of the University of Dublin, Irelands oldest university. ... The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University), located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and has a reputation as one of the worlds most prestigious universities. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Hannes Alfvén (1908–1995) accepting the Nobel Prize for his work on magnetohydrodynamics [1]. List of Nobel Prize laureates in Physics from 1901 to the present day. ... The Methodist movement is a group of denominations of Protestant Christianity. ... is the 279th day of the year (280th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1903 (MCMIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... is the 176th day of the year (177th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full 1995 Gregorian calendar). ... List of Nobel Prize laureates in Physics from 1901 to the present day. ... See also: John Cockroft (politician) Sir John Douglas Cockcroft (May 27, 1897 - September 18, 1967) was a British physicist. ... The University of Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world, with one of the most selective sets of entry requirements in the United Kingdom. ...

Contents

Early Years

Ernest Walton was born in Dungarvan, County Waterford, Ireland, to a Methodist minister father, Rev. John Walton (1874-1936) and Anna Sinton (1874-1906), growing up mostly in Ulster. In those days a general clergyman's family moved once every three years, and this practice carried Ernest and his family, while he was a small child, to counties Limerick and County Monaghan. He attended day schools in counties Down, Tyrone, and Wesley College Dublin before becoming a boarder at Methodist College Belfast in 1915, where he excelled in science and mathematics. WGS-84 (GPS) Coordinates: , Irish Grid Reference X259930 Statistics Province: Munster County: Elevation: 1m (3 ft) Population (2002)  - Town:  - Rural:   7,220  232 Website: www. ... County Waterford (Port Láirge in Irish) is a county in the province of Munster on the south coast of Ireland. ... The Methodist movement is a group of denominations of Protestant Christianity. ... This article is about the nine-county Irish province. ... Statistics Province: Munster County Town: Limerick Code: LK Area: 2,686 km² Population (2006) 183,863 (including Limerick City); 131,303 (without Limerick City) Website: www. ... Statistics Province: Ulster County Town: Monaghan Code: MN Area: 1,294 km² Population (2006[1]) 55,816 Website: www. ... Statistics Province: Ulster County Town: Downpatrick Area: 2,448 km² Population (est. ... Statistics Province: Ulster County Town: Omagh Area: 3,155 km² Population (est. ... Wesley College is a fee-paying coeducational secondary school for day-pupils and boarders in Dublin, Ireland. ... Methodist College Belfast, styled locally as Methody, is a voluntary grammar school in Belfast, Northern Ireland. ...


In 1922 Walton won scholarships to Trinity College, Dublin for the study of mathematics and science. He was awarded bachelor's and master's degrees from Trinity in 1926 and 1927, respectively. During these years at college, Walton received numerous prizes for excellence in physics and mathematics (seven prizes in all). Following graduation he was accepted as a research student at Cambridge University, under the supervision of Sir Ernest Rutherford, Director of Cavendish Laboratory. At the time there were four Nobel Prize laureates on the staff at the Cavendish lab and a further five were to emerge, including Walton and John Cockcroft. Walton was awarded his Ph.D. in 1931 and remained at Cambridge as a researcher until 1934. For other institutions named Trinity College, see Trinity College. ... The University of Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world, with one of the most selective sets of entry requirements in the United Kingdom. ... Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson OM PC FRS (30 August 1871 – 19 October 1937), widely referred to as Lord Rutherford, was a nuclear physicist who became known as the father of nuclear physics. ... Plaque, at old site Entrance, old site, Free School Lane The Cavendish Laboratory is the University of Cambridges Department of Physics, and is part of the universitys School of Physical Sciences. ... The Nobel Prize (Swedish: ) was established in Alfred Nobels will in 1895, and it was first awarded in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace in 1901. ... See also: John Cockroft (politician) Sir John Douglas Cockcroft (May 27, 1897 - September 18, 1967) was a British physicist. ...


During the early 1930s Walton and John Cockcroft collaborated to build an apparatus that split the nuclei of lithium atoms by bombarding them with a stream of protons accelerated inside a high-voltage tube (700 kilovolts). The splitting of the lithium nuclei produced helium nuclei. This was experimental verification of theories about atomic structure that had been proposed earlier by Rutherford, George Gamow, and others. The successful apparatus -- a type of particle accelerator now called the Cockcroft-Walton generator -- helped to usher in an era of particle-accelerator-based experimental nuclear physics. It was this research at Cambridge in the early 1930s that won Walton and Cockcroft the Nobel Prize in physics in 1951. Look up nucleus in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article is about the chemical element named Lithium. ... Properties For alternative meanings see atom (disambiguation). ... For alternative meanings see proton (disambiguation). ... General Name, symbol, number helium, He, 2 Chemical series noble gases Group, period, block 18, 1, s Appearance colorless Standard atomic weight 4. ... George Gamow (pronounced GAM-off) (March 4, 1904 – August 19, 1968) , born Georgiy Antonovich Gamov (Георгий Антонович Гамов) was a Ukrainian born physicist and cosmologist. ... For the DC Comics Superhero also called Atom Smasher, see Albert Rothstein. ... The Cockcroft-Walton (CW) generator, or multiplier, was named after the two men who in 1932 used this circuit design to power their particle accelerator, performing the first artificial nuclear disintegration in history. ... Nuclear physics is the branch of physics concerned with the nucleus of the atom. ...


Career at Trinity College Dublin

Ernest Walton returned to Ireland in 1934 to became a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin in the physics department, and in 1946 was appointed professor with the grand old title Erasmus Smith's Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy. Walton's lecturing was considered outstanding as he had the ability to present complicated matters in simple and easy-to-understand terms. His research interests were pursued with very limited resources, but yet he was able to study, in the late 1950's, the phosphorescent effect in glasses, secondary-electron emissions from surfaces under positive-ion bombardment, radiocarbon dating and low-level counting, and the deposition of thin films on glass.


Family life

Ernest Walton married Freda Wilson, daughter of an Irish Methodist Minister, on August 23, 1934. They had five children, Dr. Alan Walton (college lecturer in physics, Magdalene College, Cambridge), Mrs Marian Woods, Professor Philip Walton, Professor of Applied Physics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Jean Clarke and Winifred Walton. {| style=float:right; |- | |- | |} is the 235th day of the year (236th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display full 1934 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Full name The College of Saint Mary Magdalene Motto Garde ta Foy Keep your Faith Named after Mary Magdalene Previous names Buckingham College Established 1428 Sister College(s) Magdalen College Master Duncan Robinson Location Magdalene Street Undergraduates 335 Postgraduates 169 Homepage Boatclub Magdalene College (pronounced ) was founded in 1428 as... The National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI, Galway) (Irish Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh or OÉ, Gaillimh) can trace its existence to 1845 as Queens College, Galway and was known until recently as University College, Galway (UCG) (Irish: Coláiste na hOllscoile, Gaillimh or COG). ...


Walton was a longtime member of the board of governors of Wesley College, Dublin, a Methodist school he attended briefly as a boy. Wesley College is a fee-paying coeducational secondary school for day-pupils and boarders in Dublin, Ireland. ...


Later years

On his retirement from Trinity College Dublin in 1974, Walton returned to Northern Ireland, where he had grown up as a child, and for the remaining twenty years of his life lived in Belfast. He died in there on June 25, 1995, aged 91. He was widely respected, much admired, and regarded as a modest, unassuming man. Northern Ireland (Irish: , Ulster Scots: Norlin Airlann) is a constituent country of the United Kingdom lying in the northeast of the island of Ireland, covering 5,459 square miles (14,139 km², about a sixth of the islands total area). ... This article is about the city in Northern Ireland. ... is the 176th day of the year (177th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full 1995 Gregorian calendar). ...


Honours

Walton and John Cockcroft were recipients of the 1951 Nobel Prize in Physics for their "work on the transmutation of the atomic nuclei by artificially accelerated atomic particles" (popularly known as splitting the atom). They are credited with being the first to disintegrate the lithium nucleus by bombardment with accelerated protons and identifying helium nuclei in the products. More generally, they had built an apparatus which showed that nuclei of various lightweight elements (such as lithium) could be split by fast-moving protons. The nucleus of an atom is the very small dense region, of positive charge, in its centre consisting of nucleons (protons and neutrons). ... General Name, symbol, number helium, He, 2 Chemical series noble gases Group, period, block 18, 1, s Appearance colorless Standard atomic weight 4. ...


Walton and Cockcroft received the Hughes Medal of the Royal Society of London in 1938. In much later years -- and predominantly after his retirement in 1974 -- Walton received honorary degrees or conferrals from numerous British Isles and North American institutions. The Hughes Medal, named after microphone inventor David Edward Hughes, is one of several medals awarded by the Royal Society, Englands reigning academy of science. ... For other uses, see Royal Society (disambiguation). ...


The "Walton Causeway Park" in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford was dedicated in his honor with Walton himself attending the ceremony in 1989. After his death the Waterford Institute of Technology named a large building the ETS Walton Building and a plaque was placed on the site of his Co. Waterford birthplace. Other honours for Walton include the Walton Building at Methodist College, Belfast, the school where he had been a boarder for five years and the Walton Prize for Physics at Wesley College. WGS-84 (GPS) Coordinates: , Irish Grid Reference X259930 Statistics Province: Munster County: Elevation: 1m (3 ft) Population (2002)  - Town:  - Rural:   7,220  232 Website: www. ... WGS-84 (GPS) Coordinates: , Irish Grid Reference S604123 Statistics Province: Munster County: Area: 41. ... The crest of WIT Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is a state funded university-level educational institution situated in Waterford, Ireland. ...


Further reading

  • Cathcart, Brian (2005). The Fly in the Cathedral. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-027906-7. 
  • Massey, Harrie (1972). "Nuclear Physics Today and in Rutherford's Day". Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 27: 25 – 33.
  • McBrierty, Vincent J. (2003). Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton (1903-1995): The Irish Scientist. Trinity College Dublin Press. ISBN 1-871408-22-9. 

External links

  • Ernest T. S. Walton – Biography.
  • Annotated bibliography for Ernest Walton from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues
  • McBrierty, Vincent (Winter, 2004). Ernest Walton: An Irish Scientist. Institute of Physics. Retrieved on 2008-02-09.
  • Cathcart, Brian (29 June 1995). Ernest Walton (Obituary). The Independent. Retrieved on 2008-02-09.

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