Henry Moseley Biography

Henry Moseley was a renowned English physicist who developed the Moseley’s Law in the field of x-ray spectroscopy. To know more about his childhood, career, profile and timeline read on.

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Also Known As
H. G. J. Moseley
Famous as
Birth Date
23rd November, 1887 AD
Died At Age
Sun Sign
Sagittarius    Sagittarius Men
Born in
Weymouth, Dorset
Died on
10 August 1915 AD
place of death
More Facts
Trinity College, Oxford, Eton College, University of Oxford, University of Manchester
Henry Moseley

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Englishmen have often been at the forefront of scientific research and in that regard Henry Moseley certainly belongs in that select group who have made vital contributions to the world of science. Henry Moseley was a visionary who worked in the field of physics and worked on theories that went on to change the way in which people approached the science of atoms and molecules. In that regard it must be said that his contribution to science transcends both physics and chemistry, and his theories and discoveries have had a profound effect on modern science. Moseley’s studies were pivotal in establishing the scientific proof of some of the scientific theories and models that had been constructed by famous scientists of the past. Last but not the least by any stretch of imagination, it is necessary to point out that he was not only an extraordinary academic and scientist but also served his country when he was most needed during the war. Moseley achieved a lot in his rather short career as a scientist that many other scientists can only dream of. Read on to know more about his life and works. Read on to know more about the life and works of this eminent scientist

Childhood & Early Life
  • Henry Gwyn Jeffreys Moseley was born on November 23, 1887 in the town of Weymouth, Dorsey to Henry Nottidge Moseley and Amabel Moseley. Moseley’s father was a well-known biologist at the ‘University of Oxford’ while his maternal grandfather, John Gwyn Jeffreys, was a biologist as well.
  • Henry Moseley belonged to a family of scientists and showed remarkable gifts as a child during his days at the ‘Summer Fields School’. Due to his excellent grades he won a place at the iconic ‘Eton College’. He was one of the brightest students at Eton and in 1906 he was bestowed with prizes in physics and chemistry.
  • In 1906, Moseley won a place at the ‘University of Oxford’ to study physics at ‘Trinity College’, which is regarded as one of the best colleges at the world famous university.
  • In the year 1910, he joined ‘Manchester University’ and worked as a graduate teacher at the institute, in his very first year, under the venerable Sir Ernest Rutherford. Although he was offered the job of a research assistant; he declined it as he had planned on returning to Oxford three years later.
  • It was in 1913 that Moseley first devised the concepts that would go on to become the famous Moseley’s Law. He used X-ray spectroscopy in order to measure the wavelength of an x-ray and then derived a relation of those with atomic numbers of an element.
  • In the year 1913, Henry Moseley decided to return to his alma mater the ‘University of Oxford’ in order to work as a research scholar. However, in this regard it is important to point out that Oxford did not offer him any stipend but gave him access to a modern laboratory.
  • During Moseley’s time, Mendeleev’s Periodic Table was regarded as the authoritative source of information on elements and atomic numbers; however in the year 1914 he successfully demonstrated that there was a gap. Moseley published all of those findings in his famous paper.
  • Moseley’s planned return to Oxford did not materialise since the First World War broke out and he decided to contribute to the war effort by enlisting in the British Army. He was employed in the technical department of the Army and worked in communications.
Major Works
  • Henry Moseley’s most important work in his short career was the proposition and acceptance of ‘Moseley’s Law’ that proved that the charge inside the nucleus of an atom is actually the equivalent of the atomic number of the element in question. Many scientists of the time believed that he would win the Nobel Prize one day for his discovery.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Henry Moseley decided to contribute to the war effort and joined the British Army during the First World War; however he was killed in combat on August 10, 1915. He was only 27 years old at the time. He had never married.
  • In the year 1919, Henry Moseley was awarded the ‘Matteucci Medal’, named after the Italian physicist of the same name and adjudicated by the ‘Italian Society of Sciences’. He won the award posthumously for his contribution to physics and chemistry

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- Henry Moseley Biography
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Last Updated
- September 28, 2015
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