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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:

Small envelope of diagrams and figures, c. 1932, 1933

Identifier: Coll-37/H.3
Scope and Contents

The material consists of a small envelope of diagrams and figures, relating to Edward Appleton's research, some described and dated 1932 and 1933.

Dates: c. 1932, 1933

Small hardback notebook, no date

Identifier: Coll-37/B.55
Scope and Contents

Small hardback notebook, no date. It contains notes, calculations, ideas, with notes and anecdotes for lectures.

Dates: no date

Small hardback notebook, inscribed inside 'E.V. Appleton...Edinburgh', c. 1960

Identifier: Coll-37/B.44
Scope and Contents

Small hardback notebook, inscribed inside 'E.V. Appleton...Edinburgh'. It contains notes for speeches and talks, several intended for a medical audience, some scientific notes, and several references to I.G.Y. [International Geophysical Year]. The latest reference is dated 1960.

Dates: c. 1960

Small notebook '1', dated 'April 2nd 1923', 2 April 1923-1924

Identifier: Coll-37/B.6
Scope and Contents

Small notebook numbered '1', dated 'April 2nd 1923' and inscribed inside 'E.V. Appleton, St. John's College, Cambridge. Please return'. Some entries are dated 1924. The notebook contains notes and ideas on research carried out or projected on triode, circuits, etc., notes on the literature, or of discussion with Van der Pol ('Balth'). Back cover and page contain lists of papers 'Published', 'Possible' and 'Projected'.

Dates: 2 April 1923-1924

Small notebook '2', no inscription, c 1931-1932

Identifier: Coll-37/B.7
Scope and Contents Notebook numbered '2', but with no other inscriptions. The notebook contains notes and ideas for research, 'Suggestions for articles' (on oscillators), headings for discussion meeting, work on absorption, 'Points for short wave paper', notes possibly of conference contributions by Bohr, Chapman and others. Includes some material on Tromsö (c.1931) and a note 'Good wave-traps in W.W. '(Watson-Watt) dated '16/9/32'. This book also contains a note (undated) 'Could an aeroplane get us direction...
Dates: c 1931-1932

Small notebook '3' , with an indistinct date '1925' on cover, c.1925-1932

Identifier: Coll-37/B.8
Scope and Contents

Small notebook numbered '3' , with an indistinct date '1925' on cover. The notebook contains notes and ideas for research, notes on a paper by Watson-Watt, notes for 'Progress Report RRB' (Radio Research Board) dated '2/6/27', notes on URSI [Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale] meeting, note 'Try spark method of Breit and Tuve', other notes dated 1928, 1932, narrative on aurora referring to 'Tromsö last year' (c. 1932), drawings of spectra, etc.

Dates: c.1925-1932

Small red notebook, c. 1962

Identifier: Coll-37/B/47
Scope and Contents

Small red notebook. This item has hardly been used and the latest datable reference in it is from 1962.

Dates: c. 1962

Small red spiral-bound notebook, no date

Identifier: Coll-37/B.48
Scope and Contents

Small red spiral-bound notebook, no date. It contains notes and drafts on electron density, Sq curves, etc., notes and anecdotes for speeches.

Dates: no date

Small softcover notebook, inscribed inside 'E. V. Appleton, 16 Old Queen St...S.W. 1.' , c. 1941

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

Small softcover notebook, inscribed inside 'E. V. Appleton, 16 Old Queen St...S.W. 1.' The notebook contains notes on the literature and many research ideas on a wide variety of topics in ionosphere. The latest dated reference is 1941.

Dates: c. 1941

Soft-backed notebook, front only used, no date

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

Soft-backed notebook, front only used, no date. The notebook contains calculations and graphs of experiments with oscillators.

Dates: no date

Additional filters:

Archival Object 827
Collection 1
Physics 663
Correspondence 190
Radio Broadcasting 45
Diaries 33
Magnetism 24
∨ more
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
Memorials 1
Microscopes 1
Netherlands -- The Hague 1
New Zealand 1
Nuclear Weapons 1
Photographs 1
Physical Sciences 1
Postal Service 1
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