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Prof. R. H. Fowler, F.R.S

Nature volume 141, page 1002 (04 June 1938) | Download Citation



THE Lord President of the Council has appointed Prof. R. H. Fowler to be director of the National Physical Laboratory with effect as from October 1 next, in succession to Dr. W. H. Bragg, who has been elected to the Cavendish professorship of experimental physics in the University of Cambridge. Prof. Fowler, who is now forty-nine years of age, has had a brilliant career at Cambridge. So long ago as 1914 he was elected a fellow of Trinity College, and he received the Adams Prize in 1925 for an essay on "The Physical State of Matter at High Temperature". In 1932 he was appointed to one of the John Humphrey Plummer professorships established at Cambridge in the previous year, namely, that of mathematical physics. His election to the Royal Society came in 1925, and he was awarded one of the Society's Royal Medals in 1936. Prof. Fowler's scientific work includes the development of a general theory of statistical mechanics, with applications of outstanding importance to the equilibrium of mixed crystals and to the theory of semi-conductors. His work on the photo-electric effect led to a means of determining the true threshold frequencies. He has also developed new aspects of the quantum theory of energy exchange between gases and solids. Finally, by his application of the developing quantum theory to the solution of problems under investigation by groups of experimental physicists working in close association with him at Cambridge, he has made contributions of fundamental importance to both theoretical and practical physics.

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