Francis William Aston Biography
(Chemist & Physicist)
Birthday: September 1, 1877 (Virgo)
Born In: Harborne, Birmingham
Francis William Aston was a British scientist born in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. He won the 1922 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Though he was initially trained as a chemisthe later became interested in physics and began his career as an associate of well-known physicist John Henry Poynting at the University of Birmingham. Later he shifted to Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge to work with J. J. Thompson. While working with neon gas at Cavendish Laboratory he had inkling that the gas might contain two isotopes. However, before he could further explore it World War I broke out and he was assigned to the war duty at Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. He resumed his research after the war. He first developed a positive-ray apparatus called ‘mass spectrograph’ and with that he first identified two distinct isotopes of neon. Subsequently he began experimenting with other gases and identified 212 naturally occurring isotopes! Besides science, he was equally good in tennis and golf. Most of all he liked travelling and could play a number of musical instruments. Indeed, he was man of diverse talent.