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The cloud chamber and CTR Wilson’s legacy to atmospheric science

Harrison, G. ORCID: (2011) The cloud chamber and CTR Wilson’s legacy to atmospheric science. Weather, 66 (10). pp. 276-279. ISSN 1477-8696

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/wea.830


2011 is the centenary year of the short paper (Wilson,1911) first describing the cloud chamber, the device for visualising high-energy charged particles which earned the Scottish physicist Charles Thomas Rees (‘CTR’) Wilson the 1927 Nobel Prize for physics. His many achievements in atmospheric science, some of which have current relevance, are briefly reviewed here. CTR Wilson’s lifetime of scientific research work was principally in atmospheric electricity at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge; he was Reader in Electrical Meteorology from 1918 and Jacksonian Professor from 1925 to 1935. However, he is immortalised in physics for his invention of the cloud chamber, because of its great significance as an early visualisation tool for particles such as cosmic rays1 (Galison, 1997). Sir Lawrence Bragg summarised its importance:

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:24950
Uncontrolled Keywords:ionisation; cosmic rays; global circuit; lightning


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