Light is a messenger: the life and science of William by Graeme K. Hunter

By Graeme K. Hunter

Gentle is a Messenger, is the 1st biography of William Lawrence Bragg, who was once basically 25 whilst he gained the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics-the youngest individual ever to win a Nobel Prize. It describes how bragg came across tips to use X-rays to figure out the association of atoms in crystals and his pivotal function in constructing this method to the purpose that the buildings of the main advanced molecules recognized to man-the proteins and nucelic acids-could be solved. even though Bragg's Nobel Prize used to be for Physics, his study profoundly affected chemistry and the recent box of molecular biology, of which he turned a founding determine. This booklet explains how those progressive clinical occasions happened whereas Bragg struggled to emerge from the shadow of his father, Sir William Bragg, and amidst a career-long competition with the intense American chemist, Linus Pauling.

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Girdlestone, who had been a rowing Blue at Oxford, coached the boys in fours on the River Torrens. Every year St Peter’s raced Geelong Grammar School of Victoria on the Port River. Unlike Queen’s School, there was “very little teasing or persecution” at St Peter’s. ”23 To escape the heat of the South Australian summer, the Braggs spent their holidays in the Mount Lofty range east of Adelaide or on the coast. On several occasions, the Bragg and Todd families rented part of a boarding house at Port Elliot, a tiny place about 60 miles from Adelaide by train.

However, his proposal that diffraction of X-rays by crystals should be looked for received a negative response. Sommerfeld believed that the collision of cathode rays with the metal of the anticathode produced two components: Pulses with a range of wavelengths that he called Bremsstrahlung and thought of as analogous to white light; and homogenous (single-wavelength) waves characteristic of the metal. As crystals were thought to contain an infinite number of different atomic planes, corresponding to an infinite series of diffraction gratings, and if X-ray beams contained a wide range of wavelengths, Sommerfeld quite logically pointed out that a uniform distribution of diffracted radiation, rather than the sharp pattern of spots created by a cross-grating, should be expected.

He develops a defense mechanism to hide his inexperience from those he meets, and this again makes him shy of asking the questions the answers to which would keep him in touch. 33 This was resented, but apparently silently. Communication between father and son was already difficult. Although close in age, the Bragg boys were very different in personality— Bob outgoing and athletic, Willie shy and intellectual. Their sister wrote that Willie “took to solitary pursuits, such as shell collecting, being rather dreamy .

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