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The Papers of Sir George Paget Thomson

Reference Code: GBR/0014/TMSN

Scope and Contents

These files mainly contain routine correspondence and reports regarding the early development of the atomic bomb.


  • Creation: 1939 - 1942

Conditions Governing Access

TMSN 5 is CLOSED until cleared by UKAEA at Harwell.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

Sir George Thomson was born in Cambridge on 3 May 1892. In 1924 he married Kathleen Buchanan (died 1941) and they had two sons and two daughters. Thomson and Clinton J. Davisson shared the 1937 Nobel prize for physics for showing that electrons behave as waves in spite of being particles. They had arrived at the same conclusions independently of each other. In 1930 he was made professor of physics at Imperial College, London and remained so until 1952. When the fission of uranium by neutron was discovered in 1939 Thomson realised its potential and persuaded the British Air Ministry to procure a ton of uranium oxide for experiments. This led to the formation of the MAUD committee. In 1940 Thomson was made chairman of MAUD - its duties were to supervise the investigation into the possibilities of uranium's contributing to the war effort. Thomson left for America in August 1941 because his wife had become very ill. He became British Scientific Liaison officer in Ottawa until 1942 when he returned to England as Scientific Adviser to the Air Ministry. In 1952 Thomson returned to Cambridge as master of Corpus Christi and died in Cambridge on 10 September 1975.


7 file(s)

Language of Materials



The titles given to the files here are those written on the envelopes and folders when the papers were deposited.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this finding aid is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre and at the National Register of Archives in London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Sir George Thomson deposited these papers at Churchill Archives Centre in April 1966.

Related Materials

Trinity College, Cambridge holds the majority of Sir George Thomson's papers.


This collection (fonds) description and catalogue were compiled by Louise King of Churchill Archives Centre in April 2005 using information from the Dictionary of National Biography (2005) and from the papers themselves.


Thomson, Sir George Paget, 1892-1975, Knight, nuclear physicist

2005-04-06 09:58:28+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