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Dr. C. G. Darwin, F.R.S

Nature volume 142, page 697 (15 October 1938) | Download Citation



THE Lord President of the Council has appointed Dr. C. G. Darwin, master of Christ's College, Cambridge, to the directorship of the National Physical Laboratory, rendered vacant through the ill-health of Prof. R. H. Fowler, who is unable to take up the post. The name of Darwin is so completely identified in popular speech with the author of “The Origin of Species” that it is not always easy to give due credit to the work of his illustrious descendants. Dr. Darwin is a grandson of Charles Darwin, and a son of the late Sir George Howard Darwin, formerly professor of astronomy at Cambridge. He is distinguished for his work in mathematical physics, especially for his researches in collaboration with R. H. Fowler on statistical mechanics (1922) and on the quantum theory of the electron and the atom (1927). He described the electron as a vector wave having two independent components analogous to the polarized components in a wave of light. Much of this later work was done while Darwin occupied the Tait chair of natural philosophy in the University of Edinburgh. There, as a colleague of Prof. E. T. Whittaker, he did much to strengthen the mathematical school in the University, and at the same time his influence was exerted on the council of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The striking address which he delivered at Cambridge this year as president of Section A (Mathematical and Physical Sciences) of the British Association has been described as a model which other sections might study.

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