Ernest Walton
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Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton
Trinity College Dublin,Trinity College, CambridgeTrinity CollegeCambridgeMethodist College BelfastDublinUniversity of Cambridge
Trinity College DublinTrinity CollegeCambridge
Dungarvan
Methodism
Male
Libra
Dungarvan
91
Belfast
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Who is Ernest Walton?

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Ernest Walton was an Irish physicist who shared the 1951 Nobel Prize in Physics with John Crockcroft for their work on splitting the atomic nucleus. He was first person in the history to artificially split the atom and was instrumental in the development of nuclear power. Born to a Methodist minister father and his childhood saw him moving from town to town on a regular basis. He studied as a boarder at the Methodist Belfast College and excelled in science and mathematics. He won scholarships to Trinity College, Dublin for studying mathematics and science. He completed his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Trinity and thereafter got a research fellowship to work as a researcher at Trinity College, Cambridge. At Cambridge University, he worked at the famous Cavendish Laboratory under Lord Rutherford and before long he started working in collaboration with John Cockcroft on atom splitting that opened up a new chapter in modern nuclear physics. It also led to the confirmation of the theories pertaining to the atomic structure that were propounded by other scientists. Subsequently he started working at Trinity College, Dublin as a fellow and spent the rest of his career at the college. He was made the Erasmus Smith Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy at Trinity College.

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Ernest Walton Childhood & Early Life

Ernest Walton was born 6 October 1903, in Dungarvan, Ireland to Reverend John Walton and Anna Sinton. His father was a Methodist minister and his occupation made him move from one place to another, which meant that the rest of the family did the same. His mother passed away in 1906

Throughout his childhood he stayed in several places like Rathleake and County Monaghan among others at different stages. Initially he attended schools in Down and Tyrone before studying at Wesley College Dublin. In 1915, he joined the Methodist College Belfast as a boarder.

In 1922, he won a scholarship to study at Trinity College in Dublin. At Trinity College, he studied the courses in both mathematics honours and honours in experimental science and four years after joining the college he graduated in both. In 1927, he completed his master’s from Trinity College.

Ernest Walton Career

In 1927, Ernest Walton was awarded a research fellowship by the Royal Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 and he went to Cambridge University to work in the Cavendish Laboratory under Lord Rutherford. The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research gave him a research award three years after he joined Cambridge and a year later the university awarded him his Ph.D.

He collaborated with fellow research scholar John Cockcroft in the early part of the 1930s to create an apparatus that was meant for bombarding lithium atoms with protons in order to split the nuclei inside them and the series of experiments that the two scientists conducted confirmed the theories on atomic structure that were propounded by scientists like Rutherford. It came to be known as the Cockcroft-Walton generator.

After working at the University of Cambridge for five years, he became the Clerk Maxwell Scholar at the university in 1932 and for the next two years he continued his research in the same capacity. During his time at Cambridge, he worked with some of the finest minds in science at the Cavendish Laboratory, which had four Nobel Laureates as the part of the staff.

He left the University of Cambridge in 1934 in order to join the Trinity College, Dublin, as a Fellow in the physics department. In 1946 he was appointed as the Erasmus Smith Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and occupied this position till his retirement in 1974

Other than being one of the leading researchers of his time, he was also known for being a very good teacher who could break down complex theories so that it could be easily understood by students. His later career research was focussed on radiocarbon dating, hydrodynamics, microwaves, phosphorescent effect in glasses and secondary-electron emissions from surfaces under positive-ion bombardment.

In 1952, he became chairman of the School of Cosmic Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and in 1960 he was elected Senior Fellow of Trinity College.

Ernest Walton Major Works

His collaboration with Cockcroft that helped in producing the Cockcroft-Walton generator that helped in confirming the atomic structure and also showed how bombardment can help split the nucleus of an atom is his most important work. It laid in starting a new era in the field of nuclear physics and he also shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for his research.

Ernest Walton Awards & Achievements

In 1938, Walton and Cockcroft shared the Hughes Medal awarded by the Royal Society of London β€œfor their discovery that nuclei could be disintegrated by artificially produced bombarding particles.”

In 1951, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with John Cockcroft for his work on β€˜atom smashing’.

Ernest Walton Personal Life & Legacy

In 1934, Ernest Walton got married to Freda Wilson, who had also been a student of the Methodist College. The couple had four children; two sons and two daughters.

Ernest Walton died on 25 June 1995, at the age of 91, in Belfast, Ireland.

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Ernest Walton awards

  • Other

    • 1951 - Nobel Prize in Physics
    • 1938 - Hughes Medal
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Ernest Walton biography timelines

  • In 1927, Ernest Walton was awarded a research fellowship by the Royal Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 and he went to Cambridge University to work in the Cavendish Laboratory under Lord Rutherford. The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research gave him a research award three years after he joined Cambridge and a year later the university awarded him his Ph.D.
    1851 To 1927
  • Ernest Walton was born 6 October 1903, in Dungarvan, Ireland to Reverend John Walton and Anna Sinton. His father was a Methodist minister and his occupation made him move from one place to another, which meant that the rest of the family did the same. His mother passed away in 1906
    6th Oct 1903 To 1906
  • Throughout his childhood he stayed in several places like Rathleake and County Monaghan among others at different stages. Initially he attended schools in Down and Tyrone before studying at Wesley College Dublin. In 1915, he joined the Methodist College Belfast as a boarder.
    1915
  • In 1922, he won a scholarship to study at Trinity College in Dublin. At Trinity College, he studied the courses in both mathematics honours and honours in experimental science and four years after joining the college he graduated in both. In 1927, he completed his master’s from Trinity College.
    1922 To 1927
  • After working at the University of Cambridge for five years, he became the Clerk Maxwell Scholar at the university in 1932 and for the next two years he continued his research in the same capacity. During his time at Cambridge, he worked with some of the finest minds in science at the Cavendish Laboratory, which had four Nobel Laureates as the part of the staff.
    1932
  • In 1934, Ernest Walton got married to Freda Wilson, who had also been a student of the Methodist College. The couple had four children; two sons and two daughters.
    1934
  • In 1938, Walton and Cockcroft shared the Hughes Medal awarded by the Royal Society of London β€œfor their discovery that nuclei could be disintegrated by artificially produced bombarding particles.”
    1938
  • In 1951, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with John Cockcroft for his work on β€˜atom smashing’.
    1951
  • In 1952, he became chairman of the School of Cosmic Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and in 1960 he was elected Senior Fellow of Trinity College.
    1952 To 1960
  • Ernest Walton died on 25 June 1995, at the age of 91, in Belfast, Ireland.
    25th Jun 1995
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Frequently asked questions about Ernest Walton

  • What is Ernest Walton birthday?

    Ernest Walton was born at October 6, 1903

  • Where is Ernest Walton's birth place?

    Ernest Walton was born in Dungarvan

  • What is Ernest Walton nationalities?

    Ernest Walton's nationalities is Irish

  • What was Ernest Walton universities?

    Ernest Walton studied at Trinity College Dublin,Trinity College, Cambridge, Trinity College, Cambridge, Methodist College Belfast, Dublin, University of Cambridge university

  • What was Ernest Walton notable alumnis?

    Ernest Walton's notable alumnis is Trinity College Dublin, Trinity College, Cambridge

  • What is Ernest Walton's religion?

    Ernest Walton's religion is Methodism

  • What is Ernest Walton's sun sign?

    Ernest Walton is Libra

  • When was Ernest Walton died?

    Ernest Walton was died at June 25, 1995

  • Where was Ernest Walton died?

    Ernest Walton was died in Belfast

  • Which age was Ernest Walton died?

    Ernest Walton was died at age 91