Chadwick, James

Chadwick, James

James Chadwick, famous English physicist, discoverer of the neutron and photonuclear reaction, was born on October 20, 1891.

James Chadwick connected his fate with physics by accident. He was going to become a mathematician but when he came to an interview at the University of Manchester he mistakenly stood in the wrong queue and got into the physics exam. Thus he didn’t want to admit his mistake and passed the exams in physics and subsequently remained in this science for the rest of his life.

James Chadwick studied various aspects of radioactivity at the University of Manchester under Nobel laureate (and discoverer of the proton) Ernest Rutherford. Together with him Chadwick learned to turn atoms of some chemical elements into atoms of others by treating them with alpha radiation. At the same time they discovered the resulting ionizing radiation.

One day Ernest Rutherford suggested to his student trying to find a hypothetical neutral particle. In 1932 Chadwick actually discovered the neutron by irradiating beryllium with alpha particles.

For the discovery of a new particle James Chadwick was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1935. This discovery led scientists to a new concept of the structure of the atom.

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