Skip to main content

The Papers of Sir James Chadwick

Reference Code: GBR/0014/CHAD

Scope and Contents

CHAD I consists of papers and letters relating mainly to Chadwick's atomic energy work. The material in CHAD II is correspondence relating largely to Gonville and Caius, a little scientific correspondence and some mainly ephemeral items with a few articles and offprints. CHAD III contains the scientific notebooks of Sir James Chadwick and Professor Sir Ernest Rutherford as well as correspondence with individuals and about non-Atomic Energy work. CHAD IV contains Chadwick's Atomic Energy papers including correspondence and notebooks.


  • Creation: 1914 - 1974

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open (except for marked closures) for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holder and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

James Chadwick was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire on 20 October 1891. In 1925 he married Aileen Stewart-Brown and they had twin daughters. Chadwick died 24 July 1974. Chadwick attended Manchester University and shortly before World War I he was a research student in Berlin. He was then interned near Spandau in Germany for the duration of World War I. He worked at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, 1919 - 1935, and became Assistant Director of Research there, 1923-1935. In 1935 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. 1939-1943 Chadwick was involved with work on atomic energy (Tube Alloys), a member of the Maud Committee and co-ordinator of a research programme carried out at the Universities of Liverpool, Cambridge and Bristol. 1943-1946 he was Technical Adviser and Head of the British Mission in Washington concerned with atomic energy. He was Lyon Jones Professor of Physics at the University of Liverpool, 1935-1948 and Master of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, 1948-1958. 1957-1962 he was a part-time member of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (U.K.A.E.A.). During his life Chadwick was awarded many honours including medals, honorary degrees and was an honorary fellow of many institutions such as the Institute of Physics. Publications: "Radioactivity and Radioactive Substances" 1921; "Radiations from Radioactive Substances" (with Lord Rutherford and C. D. Ellis) 1930.


75 archive box(es)

Language of Materials



The papers have been left in the order in which they were received by Churchill Archives Centre.

Other Finding Aids

The collection has been catalogued and hard copies of the catalogue are available for consultation in the Reading Room at Churchill Archives Centre and at the National Register of Archives in London. Three boxes remain uncatalogued.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Chadwick deposited 31 boxes at Churchill Archives Centre and Lady Chadwick then deposited 11 more boxes after his death in 1974. In 1980 the UKAEA Historical Section made a third deposit. There have been some smaller deposits since then. There have been nine deposits in total.


This collection (fonds) level description was prepared by Louise King of Churchill Archives Centre in 2004 and 2006. Biographical information was taken from the existing catalogue (produced in 1983) and from "Who Was Who" (A & C Black). Material removed and held back by Harwell has been reinstated by Thomas Wales in September 2019.


Chadwick, Sir James, 1891-1974, knight, physicist

2004-05-19 09:43:13+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087