New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford is remembered as the father of nuclear physics. His discovery of radioactive half-life and of radon, and his differentiation of alpha and beta radiation, won him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908. Element 104 was named rutherfordium in his honor.
J. J. Thomson was a British physicist credited with the discovery of the electron, the first subatomic particle to be discovered. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1906 for his work on the conduction of electricity in gases. In 1884, he was appointed Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge.
Lord Kelvin was a British mathematical physicist and engineer. He studied at the Glasgow University and proceeded to teach there as well. Besides his academic career, he also had a career as an electric telegraph engineer and inventor. He received the Royal Society's Copley Medal in 1883. Absolute temperatures are stated in units of kelvin in his honor.
Best remembered as a Nobel laureate who discovered neutron, Sir James Chadwick began his career at Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, where he worked with Ernest Rutherford to investigate the nature of atomic nucleus, a work that led to the epoch-making discovery. Credited with writing the final draft of the MAUD Report, he also headed the British team at the Manhattan Project
Henry Moseley was an English physicist best known for his development of Moseley's law in X-ray spectra. He made major contributions to the fields of atomic physics, nuclear physics, and quantum physics. He was working at the University of Oxford when World War I broke out, following which he went to volunteer for the Royal Engineers of the British Army.
English physicist, and mathematician, James Prescott Joule primarily worked on the nature of heat, in course of which he established that all forms of energy are fundamentally same and therefore inter-convertible. His findings resulted in the development of the first law of thermodynamics and negation of calorie theory. The SI derived unit of energy, the joule, is named after him.
George Paget Thomson was a British physicist best remembered for his discovery of the wave properties of the electron by electron diffraction. The son of physicist and Nobel laureate J. J. Thomson, he himself went on to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1937. He spent several years of his career at Imperial College London.
Although John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, received the Nobel Prize for his discovery and isolation of the inert gas argon, his contributions to Physics is not limited to that. Known to make extensive contributions to theoretical and practical physics, especially in the fields of acoustics and optics, his works are now considered to mark the beginning of modern acoustics.
William Henry Bragg was an English physicist, chemist, and mathematician. He is best known for sharing the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics with his son Lawrence Bragg for their work in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays. William Henry Bragg had an illustrious academic career and was elected president of the Royal Society in 1935.
Arthur Eddington was an English physicist, astronomer, and mathematician. He wrote numerous articles that explained Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity to the English-speaking world. He began his career in academics and eventually shifted to astronomy, becoming the chief assistant to the Astronomer Royal at the Royal Greenwich Observatory. He was a recipient of the Henry Draper Medal.
11 Joseph Swan
Joseph Swan was an English chemist, physicist, and inventor known for being an independent early developer of a successful incandescent light bulb. He developed and supplied the first batch of incandescent lights used for illuminating houses and public buildings. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1894 and knighted by King Edward VII in 1904.
Robert Watson-Watt, often called the father of radar was a British physicist who did pioneering work in radio direction finding (RDF) and radar technology. He developed high-frequency direction finding (huff-duff) as a system for locating lightning. It was later introduced during the Second World War and played an instrumental role in intelligence, mainly in catching enemy radios while they transmitted.
Oliver Heaviside was an English mathematician and physicist. He invented a new technique for solving differential equations and independently developed vector calculus. He is also credited with rewriting Maxwell's equations in the form commonly used today. He formulated the telegrapher’s equations and invented the Heaviside step function as well. In 1922, he received the Faraday Medal.
14 John Tyndall
Born into a poor Protestant family, Irish physicist John Tyndall was a self-made man who funded his own doctoral education. His contributions include his research on the greenhouse effect and the discovery of the Tyndall effect. Not known to many, he was also an avid mountaineer and glaciologist.
Born to a math and physics professor in Australia, Sir William Lawrence Bragg later moved to England, where his father was posted for work. He and his father jointly won the Nobel Prize for Physics for their research on X-ray diffraction through crystals. Bragg was an avid shell collector, too.
William Crookes was a British chemist and physicist remembered as a pioneer of vacuum tubes. He was the inventor of what became known as the Crookes tube. He is also credited with the discovery of the element thallium. He was the first person to describe the spectrum of terrestrial helium. He was interested in spiritualism and occultism as well.
Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet was an Anglo-Irish physicist and mathematician. He studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and spent his entire career at the University of Cambridge as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. As a physicist, he made key contributions to fluid mechanics and physical optics. He received the Royal Society's Copley Medal in 1893.
Frederick Lindemann, 1st Viscount Cherwell was a British physicist known for serving as the prime scientific adviser to Winston Churchill in World War II. Much respected for his scientific brilliance, he was notorious for being arrogant and quarrelsome as a person. He formed a close bond with Churchill and was given a cabinet seat in Churchill’s second government.
19 James Dewar
James Dewar was a British chemist and physicist best known for his invention of the vacuum flask. He conducted considerable research into the liquefaction of gases and atomic and molecular spectroscopy. He also wrote papers on the qualities of hydrogen and organic chemistry. He was awarded the Albert Medal of the Royal Society of Arts and the Rumford Medal.
Sir John Douglas Cockcroft was a British physicist credited with designing the Cockcroft-Walton generator with Earnest Walton. Their relentless research on spitting various types of atoms helped to establish the importance of accelerators in disintegrating atoms, which in turn paved the way for the development of nuclear power. For his pioneering work,John Cockroft was one of the recipients of the 1951 Nobel Prize in Physics
John Ambrose Fleming was an English electrical engineer and physicist. He is known for inventing the first thermionic valve or vacuum tube and designing the radio transmitter with which the first transatlantic radio transmission was made. Along with Douglas Dewar and Bernard Acworth, he helped establish the Evolution Protest Movement. Fleming was also a noted photographer and artist.
22 George Green
With one year of formal schooling, George Green was entirely self-taught until the age of forty, when he entered Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. By then, he had published his first book, propagating what are now known as Green’s theorem and Green’s functions. A fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, he also established Green's identities, Green's law, and Green's matrix.
24 Oliver Lodge
Best known for developing the radio-wave detector named coherer, Oliver Lodge had also served as the first principal of Birmingham University. He was made a Knights Bachelor and had also been a Royal Institution lecturer. His inventions revolutionized early wireless telegraph technology, though they were replaced by modern instruments later.
Osborne Reynolds is best remembered for revolutionizing the fields of hydraulics and fluid dynamics. Born to a clergy father who was also a mathematician, Reynolds developed an interest in mechanics early in life. Reynolds was the first engineering professor at Owens College, Manchester, and also a Royal Society fellow.
British physicist, meteorologist, mathematician, psychologist and pacifist Lewis Fry Richardson was the first to apply modern mathematical techniques of weather forecasting to predict weather accurately. He also pioneered the use of similar methods in studying reasons of wars and the way to stop them. He proposed the iterative method called modified Richardson iteration for solving a system of linear equations.
Nobel Prize-winning English scientist Francis William Aston was solely a chemist before the advent of X-rays and radioactivity made him focus on physics too. He is best remembered for inventing the mass spectrograph, or the mass spectrometer, which helped him discover 212 of the 287 natural isotopes.
Patrick Blackett was a British experimental physicist who became the first person to prove that radioactivity could cause the nuclear transmutation of one chemical element to another. He is recognized for his seminal work on cloud chambers, cosmic rays, and paleomagnetism, for which he received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1948. He was known to be a gentle person.
Charles Galton Darwin was an English physicist. Born into a prominent family of intellectuals, he was the son of mathematician George Howard Darwin and a grandson of biologist Charles Darwin. He studied mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge, and began an academic career. He, later on, served as the director of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). He loved to travel.
30 G. I. Taylor
G. I. Taylor was a British physicist and mathematician. He was a key figure in fluid dynamics and wave theory. He worked on the development of supersonic aircraft while serving on the Aeronautical Research Committee. Counted among the most notable scientists of the 20th century, he was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Franklin Medal.
Scottish physicist, meteorologist and Nobel Laureate Charles Thomson Rees Wilson is noted for inventing the cloud chamber particle detector, also referred to as Wilson cloud chamber, used for visualizing the passage of ionizing radiation. It played a significant role in the area of experimental particle physics between the 1920s and 1950s.
Considered a pioneer in radio physics, Nobel laureate Sir Edward Victor is remembered as much for his pioneering work on physics of the upper atmosphere as for his discovery of the Appleton layer. His investigations, which proved the existence of ionosphere and established its characteristics, helped not only to develop an unfailing long-range radio communication, but also the much-needed radars.
33 James Jeans
James Jeans was an English physicist, astronomer, and mathematician who made great contributions to the areas of quantum theory, the theory of radiation, and stellar evolution. Along with Arthur Eddington, Jeans is a founder of British cosmology. He spent his academic career at Trinity College, Cambridge, and the Princeton University. He received the Royal Medal in 1919.
Hertha Ayrton was a British engineer, physicist, mathematician, and inventor. She is remembered for her work on electric arcs and ripple marks in sand and water, for which she was awarded the Hughes Medal by the Royal Society. As a woman in the 19th century, she had to face innumerable struggles in her career. She was also a passionate suffragist.
Charles Glover Barkla won a Nobel Prize for his research on X-ray scattering, which pave way for further research on atomic structures. A staunch Methodist, he believed his work was part of his search for God. Musically talented, Barkla also sang in the church choir of King’s College, Cambridge, his alma.
Owen Willans Richardson was a British physicist known for his work on thermionic emission. He earned a DSc from the University of London and became a professor at Princeton University. He later became the Wheatstone Professor of Physics at King's College London. In 1928, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. He was knighted in 1939.
Irish physicist George Johnstone Stoney made important contributions in the areas of cosmic physics and the theory of gases. Most significant scientific work of Stoney was the conception and calculation of the magnitude of the atom or particle of electricity. He is noted for introducing the term electron to elucidate the fundamental unit of electrical charge.
38 Horace Lamb
Recognized as the pioneer of the social credit economic reform movement, Major Clifford Hugh Douglas was an engineer by professional. His interest turned to economics when he noticed that the weekly total costs of goods was greater than the sums paid to workers, leading to his development of the social credit theory, which encompasses economics, political science, history, and accounting.
45 Peter Barlow
47 C. V. Boys
The son of a mechanical engineer, John Hopkinson followed in his father’s footsteps. Remembered for his research on alternating current, the British engineer and physicist developed the three-wire system for distributing electricity. He died in a mountaineering accident in the Alps, along with three of his six children.
Known for his pioneering contribution to radio technology, British physicist William Eccles had begun his career as an assistant to renowned scientist Guglielmo Marconi. He supported Oliver Heaviside's theory of there being an upper layer of the atmosphere that reflects radio waves. His works include Handbook of Wireless Telegraphy.
Astronomer and physicist James Challis had been a professor of astronomy and the director of the Cambridge Observatory. Throughout his career, he published over 200 academic papers. Though he had observed Neptune a month before its official discovery, he had failed to identify as a separate planet.