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Appleton, Sir Edward Victor, 1892-1965 (physicist and principal of the University of Edinburgh)



  • Existence: 1892 - 1965


Appleton was born in Bradford and educated at local schools and St John's College, Cambridge where he was awarded first class honours and several prizes in both parts of the Natural Sciences Tripos (1913, 1914). He began research at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge with W.L. Bragg, but during his service in the Army Signals in the First World War he developed the interest in valves and 'wireless' signals which informed his subsequent research career. He returned to the Cavendish Laboratory in 1919, continuing to work on valves and, with B. van der Pol, on non-linearity, and on atmospherics. In 1924, in collaboration with M.F. Barnett, he performed a crucial experiment which enabled a reflecting layer in the atmosphere to be identified and measured; subsequent research indicated the existence of more than one reflecting layer. From 1924 to 1936 Appleton was Wheatstone Professor of Physics at King's College, London, directing research teams and, in 1932, heading an expedition to Tromsö in northern Norway as part of the programme of observations scheduled for the Second International Polar Year

He was President of the International Union of Scientific Radio (URSI), 1934-1952. In 1936 he succeeded C.T.R. Wilson in the Jacksonian Chair of Natural Philosophy at Cambridge, where he continued collaborative research on many ionospheric problems, including solar and lunar tides in the E-layer. From September 1936 he served on the re-constituted Committee for the Scientific Survey of Air Defence (the 'Tizard Committee'), and in October 1938 was appointed successor to Sir Frank Smith as Secretary to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). He remained at the DSIR throughout the Second World War and until 1948 when he was appointed Principal of Edinburgh University. He took up the appointment in May 1949 and remained in office until his death in 1965. Appleton was elected FRS in 1927 (Bakerian Lecture 1937, Hughes Medal 1933, Royal Medal 1950) and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1947 for his investigations into the ionosphere. He was knighted in 1941.

Found in 828 Collections and/or Records:

Charts and graphs, some on Slough data, 1931-1951

Identifier: Coll-37/F.65
Scope and Contents

The material consists of an original folder of charts and graphs, some on Slough data 1931-1951, written in several hands.

Dates: 1931-1951

Charts and tables of noon values, mainly Slough data, 1932-1958

Identifier: Coll-37/F.9
Scope and Contents

The material consists of charts and tables of noon values, mainly from Slough data, dated 1932-1958. It includes a note from Mrs. Turnbull to Edward Appleton on the data, and a brief reply by him.

Dates: 1932-1958

Charts, etc. of sunspot numbers, 1954-1958

Identifier: Coll-37/F.52
Scope and Contents

The material consists of charts, etc. of sunspot numbers, dated 1954-1958. Some of them are annotated by Edward Appleton.

Dates: 1954-1958

Charts, etc. on sunspot cycle, 1936-1940

Identifier: Coll-37/F.51
Scope and Contents

The material consists of charts, etc. on sunspot cycle from 1937-1940 and 1936-1938.

Dates: 1936-1940

Charts of worId values, March 1958, September 1958, March 1959, March 1962

Identifier: Coll-37/F.16
Scope and Contents

The material consists of charts of worId values, dated March and September 1958, March 1959, March 1962.

Dates: March 1958, September 1958, March 1959, March 1962

'Christmas 1963. Work on r(fF2)', 1963

Identifier: Coll-37/F.35
Scope and Contents

'Christmas 1963. Work on r(fF2)'. The material consists of an original file of data.

Dates: 1963

'Coal as a source of heat and power', September 1947

Identifier: Coll-37/D.32
Scope and Contents

'Coal as a source of heat and power'. The material consists of Edward Appleton’s chairman's address at the British Association meeting, September 1947, 7 pages typescript, plus some correspondence.

Dates: September 1947

Comments on two papers on radio transmission, 1940

Identifier: Coll-37/C.284
Scope and Contents

The material consist of a comment on a Japanese paper on radio transmission, with diagrams, sent with a covering letter by W.G. Beynon, dated October 1940 and comments on another paper on transmission, by Beynon and Piggott, dated 1940.

Dates: 1940

Composite and average graphs for (M3000)F2, 1953-1958

Identifier: Coll-37/F.39
Scope and Contents

The material consists of composite and average graphs for (M3000)F2, mainly dated 1953-1958.

Dates: 1953-1958

Composite tables of h'F data for Slough, 1949-1959

Identifier: Coll-37/F.46
Scope and Contents

The material consists of composite tables of h'F data for Slough by Mrs. Turnbull, dated 1949-1959. It includes 1 page manuscript chart by Edward Appleton.

Dates: 1949-1959

Additional filters:

Archival Object 827
Collection 1
Physics 663
Correspondence 190
Radio Broadcasting 45
Diaries 33
Magnetism 24
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Radar 17
Norway 14
Absorption 13
Astronomy 11
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Magnetic Storms 8
Oscillations 8
University of Edinburgh 8
University of Edinburgh -- Principals 8
Appleton, Edward Victor, Sir, 1892-1965 -- Correspondence 7
Science 7
Mathematics 6
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United States -- D.C. -- Washington 2
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Air Force 1
America 1
Architecture 1
Architecture, Designs and Plans 1
Army Personnel 1
Atmospheric Pressure, Measurement 1
Atomic bomb 1
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Baking 1
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Biography 1
Body temperature--Regulation 1
Calculus Integral 1
Cambridge (England) 1
Campus Planning 1
Canada 1
Chemistry 1
City Planning 1
Civil Servants 1
Clydebank (Scotland) 1
Coal 1
College Buildings 1
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Electric Circuits 1
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