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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:

3 notes for speeches by Edward Appleton, October 1956-December 1956

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

The material consists of Speech for Soviet Cultural Delegation, October 1956, 3 pages, typescript; Speech at dinner for French Institute, December 1956, 5 pages, typescript; and Speech for Graduation Ceremony, 7 pages typescript.

Dates: October 1956-December 1956

3 notes for talks and addresses by Edward Appleton, c. 1947

Identifier: Coll-37/D.31
Scope and Contents

3 notes for talks and addresses by Edward Appleton. The material consists of 'Recent advances in radio research', a 2 page note of a talk to the Royal Dublin Society, c.1947; 'Research in the Midlands', the opening address at F.B.I. [Federation of British Industries] Conference, Birmingham, March 1947, 15 pages typescript and manuscript; 'Peace-time applications of nuclear energy', Appleton’s opening remarks at the British Association discussion, August 1947.

Dates: c. 1947

3 notes for talks and lectures by Edward Appleton, c. 1948

Identifier: Coll-37/D.34
Scope and Contents

3 notes for talks and lectures by Edward Appleton. The material consists of 'The Scientist in Industry', manuscript and typescript drafts, notes, etc., some dated February 1948; ‘British Science in War and Peace', a 31 page typescript for a slide lecture to Bradford Civic Society, May 1948; and ‘Science and the Public’, a 30 page typescript talk, no date, c.1948.

Dates: c. 1948

3 notes for talks by Edward Appleton, March 1953-June 1953

Identifier: Coll-37/D.47
Scope and Contents

The material consists of background information for Edward Appleton's Presidential Address to the British Association, March 1953; 'The scientific method', a BBC talk to schools, April 1953, 10 pages, typescript; and Speech to Company of Merchants of Edinburgh, June 1953, 6 pages, typescript;

Dates: March 1953-June 1953

3 notes relating to radio noise from the stars and mesons, c. 1946

Identifier: Coll-37/D.26
Scope and Contents

The material consists of 'Radio Noise from the Stars', an 11 page manuscript draft for a popular talk or broadcast, no date, c. 1946; a 3 page typescript note on similar subject; and a 3 page note on mesons, this one probably not by Edward Appleton.

Dates: c. 1946

3 papers relating to wireless signal research, c. 1924-1925

Identifier: Coll-37/D.1
Scope and Contents

3 papers relating to wireless signal research. The titles are:'Some methods of investigating wireless signal variations', by Appleton and M.A.F. Barnett, a 7 page typescript, no date, the latest reference is 1925; 'Some wireless methods of investigating the upper atmosphere', a 3 page typescript, no date, c.1924-1925; and ‘Some problems of wireless wave propagation', an 11 page typescript, p.5-6 missing, no date, c. 1925, which details Appleton's and Barnett's experiments.

Dates: c. 1924-1925

3 photographs of receiving apparatus, c. 1942

Identifier: Coll-37/H.4
Scope and Contents

The material consists of 3 photographs of receiving apparatus, possibly dated c. 1942, Burghead.

Dates: c. 1942

3 small envelopes containing observations and photographs, c. 1929-1935

Identifier: Coll-37/C.305
Scope and Contents

3 small envelopes containing observations and photographs. The material consists of envelope addressed ‘Proffessor Appleton Grand Hotel', containing photographs of aurora, etc.; envelope, mainly containing observations made at King's College, London, 1929 (many identified on verso); and envelope of photographs of scenery (one with a manuscript note by R. Naismith).

Dates: c. 1929-1935

3 speeches or lectures by Edward Appleton, 1951

Identifier: Coll-37/D.45
Scope and Contents

3 speeches or lectures by Edward Appleton. The material consists of Speech for Honorary Graduands, July 1951, 16 pages, typescript; Appleton’s contribution to the British Association meeting on 'World Communications', September 1951, 3 pages typescript; and copy of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Monthly Journal containing 'Science, Government and Industry', the Dallas lecture delivered by Appleton at Glasgow, November 1951.

Dates: 1951

4 draft notes of papers by Edward Appleton, c. 1925-1943

Identifier: Coll-37/C.207
Scope and Contents

The material consists of 4 draft notes by Edward Appleton: ‘The effect of the earth's magnetic field in the case of long-wave reflection', 1 page; 'Resume of results', 1 page; ‘Notes on the Reflection Coefficient’, 2 pages; and ‘Discussion of Results’, 3 pages for section 6 of a paper, on downcoming waves, no date, c. 1925-1943.

Dates: c. 1925-1943

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
Meteors 11
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
Electricity 5
Television broadcasting 5
World War, 1914-1918 5
Belgium -- Brussels 4
History of Science 4
Tides 4
Atmosphere 3
Nuclear Energy 3
Aurora 2
Edinburgh -- Scotland 2
Electronics 2
Guest books 2
Industry 2
Johannesburg (South Africa) 2
Nuclear Physics 2
Obituaries 2
Peru 2
Prizes 2
Seasonal variations 2
United States -- D.C. -- Washington 2
United States -- Ohio -- Cincinnati 2
Waddington, Conrad Hal, 1905-1975 -- Correspondence 2
Weather 2
Academic Writing 1
Air Force 1
America 1
Architecture 1
Architecture, Designs and Plans 1
Army Personnel 1
Atmospheric Pressure, Measurement 1
Atomic bomb 1
Auroras 1
Australia 1
Australia -- New South Wales -- Sydney 1
Baking 1
Bibliography 1
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
Collisions (Nuclear Physics) 1
Communication 1
Communication and Technology 1
Copenhagen (Denmark) 1
Copenhagen, Denmark 1
Eclipses 1
Electric Circuits 1
Electrical engineering 1
Electromagnetic Waves 1
Encyclopedias and Dictionaries 1
England -- Merseyside -- Liverpool 1
England -- West Yorkshire -- Bradford 1
Eschatology 1
Falkland Islands 1
Fuel Technology 1
Funeral Rites and Ceremonies 1
Germany -- Lower Saxony -- Hanover 1
Glass 1
Honorary Degrees 1
Iceland 1
Insurance 1
Ionosphere 1
Italy 1
Madagascar 1
Manchester (England) 1
Massachusetts -- Harvard 1
Medicine | History | 1
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Netherlands -- The Hague 1
New Zealand 1
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