Ernest Walton Biography
(Irish Physicist and Winner of the 1951 Nobel Prize in Physics)
Birthday: October 6, 1903 (Libra)
Born In: Abbeyside, Ireland
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.