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Nobel Prize in Physics 1927

Arthur Holly Compton and Charles Thomson Rees Wilson

to Compton for his discovery of the effect named after him and to Wilson for his method of making the paths of electrically charged particles visible by condensation of vapour


Arthur Holly Compton
US citizen. Born 1892 USA, died 1962, California

Like his older brothers (Karl and Wilson, who would serve as the presidents of MIT and Washington State College, respectively) he attended the University of Wooster, OH, obtaining his BSc in 1913. He then moved to Princeton to study for his PhD which he obtained in 1916. He began his academic career at the University of Minnesota in 1916, where he taught for a year before becoming a research engineer at the Westinghouse Lamp Company in Pennsylvania. He was awarded a National Research Fellowship in physics, and went to study at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University in 1919-20. Returning to the US he became professor of physics and head of the physics department at Washington University. During his time at Washington University he discovered an `X-ray scattering effect' that came to be known as the `Compton effect'.

From 1923 to 1945 Compton was a professor of physics at the University of Chicago. From 1942 to 1945 he was director of the Metallurgical Laboratory of the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago. He became chancellor of Washington University in 1945 and was professor of natural history there from 1953 until 1961.

The information on this page is based on content at © The Nobel Foundation and Washington University in St Louis' obituary of Arthur Compton.

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