Francis William Aston


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Francis William Aston

Francis William Aston (born September 1, 1877 in Harborne / since 1891 in Birmingham ; † November 20, 1945 in Cambridge ) was an English chemist and physicist and Nobel Prize winner (chemistry 1922).

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Francis William Aston studied chemistry after completing his school career . The former developments in physics led him to a scholarship , another 1903 study of physics take on the University of Birmingham near his birthplace Harborne, settling on the physics of after the end of the gas discharge tube concentrated. During this work, he discovered a very fine, dark layer directly on the cathode in front of the first cathode light edge during a glow discharge , which was named after him the “Aston Dark Space”.

In 1909 he accepted an invitation from Sir Joseph John Thomson to the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, where he dealt with the identification of neon isotopes . He also gave lectures at Trinity College . His work was interrupted by the First World War, after which he returned to his work in 1919. During his research in 1901 he developed a method of electromagnetic focusing of particle beams (electromagnetic mass spectrograph), which led to the development of the first mass spectrometer (1918). With its help he identified more than 200 of the 287 naturally occurring isotopes. As early as 1919 he postulated the extremely high-energy fusion of hydrogen to form helium. In 1922 he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for his discovery of isotopes, including largely the non- radioactive elements with the aid of his mass spectrograph, and for his formulation of the 'rule of integers'.” This rule (Whole Number Rule), after him too the "Aston's rule" or "(Aston's) isotope rule" means: Chemical elements with an odd atomic number never have more than two stable isotopes , whereas those with an even atomic number often have significantly more. Francis William Aston fixed this to the oxygen isotope 16 O by formulating: "With a defined mass of the oxygen isotope [ 16 O] all other isotopes [of oxygen] have masses that are fairly close to whole numbers."

Even before he was awarded the Nobel Prize, he was accepted into the Royal Society in 1921 . Since December 1924 he was an external corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences . Outstanding among his publications are the works isotopes (Isotopes, 1922) and mass spectra and isotopes (Mass Spectra and Isotopes, 1933). In 1938 he was awarded the Royal Medal of the Royal Society. The lunar crater "Aston" and version 1.0 of the OpenChrom software were named in his honor .

Web links

Commons : Francis William Aston  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Foreign members of the Russian Academy of Sciences since 1724, Aston, Francis William. Russian Academy of Sciences, accessed August 29, 2019 (in Russian).