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Thomson, Sir Joseph John, 1856-1940 (Knight, physicist)

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1856 - 1940

Biography

Joseph John Thomson (1856-1940) was born in Manchester and attended Owens College, Manchester, in 1871. Thomson won a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, and in 1876 came to the university to read for the Mathematical Tripos. He was elected a fellow of Trinity, and in 1885 was appointed Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics. Thomson began his life-long investigation of the passage of electricity through gases before his appointment as Cavendish Professor. His work was given impetus in 1895 by Rontgen's discovery of X-rays which Thomson found caused gases through which they passed to become conductors of electricity. Thomson investigated the nature of this phenomenon with Ernest Rutherford, and from their research they were able to determine the process by which a current is passed through a gas and the role X-rays play in this process. Thomson proceeded to the study of discharge-cathode rays. His work led to him to conclude that the rays were a fundamental constituent of the atom, carrying negative electricity, and that their number and arrangement in the atom determined that atom's position in the periodic table. When Thomson first put forward his theory in 1897 his ideas were greeted with scepticism, but two more years of research by himself and others provided the experimental evidence to confirm his ideas about the electron. Thomson continued to study the structure of the atom and the arrangement of electrons within it, but from 1906 to 1914 he also turned his attention to the study of positive rays. He developed and refined the techniques used to photograph positive rays in the discharge tube. The increased sensitivity of his apparatus allowed him to identify new atomic groupings and isolate for the first time isotopes as unstable elements. Thomson resigned as Cavendish Professor in favour of Rutherford in 1919, but held a special chair until his death. He was active outside the university in urging recognition of the importance of scientific education and research to the country as a whole. During the First World War he served on the Board of Invention and Research (B.I.R.), set up by the Admiralty to encourage and coordinate naval research. He was also a member of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and became the first President of the Institute of Physics. Thomson also presided over the Royal Commission report on the position of natural science in the education system of Great Britain. In 1915 he was elected President of the Royal Society, which he headed until 1920. In 1919 he was appointed Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and devoted the last years of his life to running its affairs. He died on 30 August 1940.

Found in 15 Collections and/or Records:

 Fonds

Herbert Watson: Notes taken at J.J. Thomson's lectures

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8167
Scope and Contents

Notes on lectures given by J.J. Thomson on a wide range of subjects. There are ninety-one numbered pages; the rest of the volume is unused. At the front are two letters concerning the collection: from H.E. Watson to Professor N.F. Mott, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, 19 September 1961, and an unsigned letter to Watson, 13 August 1962.

Dates: 1910-1911
Conditions Governing Access: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Item

Letter from Adams, Walter 1933-1936, 1935-11-14

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.7653/1/i/A/11
Scope and Contents Writing from the Academic Assistance Council at Clements Inn Passage, Adams says he has met Mathilde Hertz, has received a long letter from the Master of Trinity [Joseph John Thomson] and has discussed her case with Professors [Archibald Vivian] Hill and [Charles Stanley] Gibson. They agree she should receive a grant for 1936 January-July to allow Thomson time to raise further funds from those indebted to Heinrich Hertz. Any appeal should be made after Hertz is back in Britain as otherwise...
Dates: 1935-11-14
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: The MS Add.7653 Ernest Rutherford papers are owned by the University of Cambridge and are open for consultation under the normal regulations of the University Library's manuscripts collections; see http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/deptserv/manuscripts/. The only limitations to use are in respect of the low-level radioactivity of a small number of items in the collection. Further advice is available from the Manuscripts Reading Room staff.
 Item

Letter from J.C. Maxwell to Joseph Thomson, 13 July 1871 (SLP 381)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS.Add.7655/III/a/15
Scope and Contents From the File:

Modern copies or transcriptions of correspondence of J.C. Maxwell and others in this collection or elsewhere, including typescripts and facsimiles

Dates: 13 July 1871 (SLP 381)
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: RESTRICTED - Use Microfilms CMO5028-CMO5042. List in catalogue
 Item

Letter from J.C. Maxwell to Joseph Thomson, 24 July 1871 (SLP 382)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS.Add.7655/III/a/17
Scope and Contents From the File:

Modern copies or transcriptions of correspondence of J.C. Maxwell and others in this collection or elsewhere, including typescripts and facsimiles

Dates: 24 July 1871 (SLP 382)
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: RESTRICTED - Use Microfilms CMO5028-CMO5042. List in catalogue
 Item

Letter from J.C. Maxwell to Joseph Thomson, 2 Sep. 1872 (SLP 421)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS.Add.7655/III/a/19
Scope and Contents From the File:

Modern copies or transcriptions of correspondence of J.C. Maxwell and others in this collection or elsewhere, including typescripts and facsimiles

Dates: 2 Sep. 1872 (SLP 421)
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: RESTRICTED - Use Microfilms CMO5028-CMO5042. List in catalogue
 Item

Letter from J.C. Maxwell to Joseph Thomson, 27 Mar. 1875 (SLP 557)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS.Add.7655/III/a/23
Scope and Contents From the File:

Modern copies or transcriptions of correspondence of J.C. Maxwell and others in this collection or elsewhere, including typescripts and facsimiles

Dates: 27 Mar. 1875 (SLP 557)
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: RESTRICTED - Use Microfilms CMO5028-CMO5042. List in catalogue
 Item

Letter from J.C. Maxwell to Joseph Thomson, 26 June 1875 (SLP 562)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS.Add.7655/III/a/24
Scope and Contents From the File:

Modern copies or transcriptions of correspondence of J.C. Maxwell and others in this collection or elsewhere, including typescripts and facsimiles

Dates: 26 June 1875 (SLP 562)
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: RESTRICTED - Use Microfilms CMO5028-CMO5042. List in catalogue
 Item

Letter from J.C. Maxwell to Joseph Thomson, 8 July 1875 (SLP 564)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS.Add.7655/III/a/25
Scope and Contents From the File:

Modern copies or transcriptions of correspondence of J.C. Maxwell and others in this collection or elsewhere, including typescripts and facsimiles

Dates: 8 July 1875 (SLP 564)
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: RESTRICTED - Use Microfilms CMO5028-CMO5042. List in catalogue
 Item

Letter from J.C. Maxwell to Joseph Thomson, 25 June 1879 (SLP 750)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS.Add.7655/III/a/28
Scope and Contents From the File:

Modern copies or transcriptions of correspondence of J.C. Maxwell and others in this collection or elsewhere, including typescripts and facsimiles

Dates: 25 June 1879 (SLP 750)
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: RESTRICTED - Use Microfilms CMO5028-CMO5042. List in catalogue
 File

Letter from J.J. Thomson to William Garnett, 17 Feb 1904

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8385/9
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

The collection consists of the executorship papers of Mrs Maxwell, letters and a speech by William Garnett.

Dates: 17 Feb 1904
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Item

Letter from Joseph Thomson to J.C. Maxwell, 21 July 1871 (SLP 382n)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS.Add.7655/III/a/16
Scope and Contents From the File:

Modern copies or transcriptions of correspondence of J.C. Maxwell and others in this collection or elsewhere, including typescripts and facsimiles

Dates: 21 July 1871 (SLP 382n)
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: RESTRICTED - Use Microfilms CMO5028-CMO5042. List in catalogue
 Item

Letter from Joseph Thomson to J.C. Maxwell, 11 Jan. 1873 (SLP 421n)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS.Add.7655/III/a/20
Scope and Contents From the File:

Modern copies or transcriptions of correspondence of J.C. Maxwell and others in this collection or elsewhere, including typescripts and facsimiles

Dates: 11 Jan. 1873 (SLP 421n)
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: RESTRICTED - Use Microfilms CMO5028-CMO5042. List in catalogue
 Item

Letter from Joseph Thomson to J.C. Maxwell, 16 July 1879 (SLP 750n)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS.Add.7655/III/a/29
Scope and Contents From the File:

Modern copies or transcriptions of correspondence of J.C. Maxwell and others in this collection or elsewhere, including typescripts and facsimiles

Dates: 16 July 1879 (SLP 750n)
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: RESTRICTED - Use Microfilms CMO5028-CMO5042. List in catalogue
 Series

Letter from Sir Joseph J. Thomson (1856-1940) to [Sir Joseph?] Larmor, 7 May 1890

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8781/495
Scope and Contents

Correction for curvature for slit in guard ring electronometer

Dates: 7 May 1890
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Fonds — Multiple Containers

Sir Joseph John Thomson: Correspondence and Papers

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.7654
Scope and Contents Part I. Correspondence A-Z Correspondence. PP Other personal papers. Part II. Research, lectures and speeches BD Drafts of books. PD Drafts of published scientific papers and lectures. ED Drafts of contributions to dictionaries and encyclopaedia. UD Drafts of unidentified or unpublished works. SN Notes for speeches. NC Notes and calculations. PH Photographs and diagrams. UL University lecture notes. EX Draft Examination questions. Part III. Thomson's work outside physics Government...
Dates: 1880-1939 (Circa)
Conditions Governing Access: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).

Additional filters:

Type
Archival Object 13
Collection 2
 
Subject
Education 1
Examinations 1
Lectures 1
Mathematics 1
Natural sciences 1
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Physics 1
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