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Born on this day
Ernst Boris Chain
Sir Ernst Boris Chain was a biochemist, and a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize.
25th week in year
19 June 2018

Important personalitiesBack

Arthur Holly Compton10.9.1892

Wikipedia (10 Sep 2013, 15:50)

Arthur Holly Compton (September 10, 1892 – March 15, 1962) was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927 for his discovery of the Compton effect, and for his leadership of the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory. He served as Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis from 1945 to 1953.

In 1919, Compton was awarded one of the first two National Research Council Fellowships that allowed students to study abroad. He chose to go to Cambridge University's Cavendish Laboratory in England, where he studied the scattering and absorption of gamma rays. Further research along these lines led to the discovery of the Compton effect, which demonstrated the particle nature of electromagnetic radiation. It was a sensational discovery at the time, for the wave nature of light had been well-demonstrated, but the idea that light could have a dual nature was not easily accepted.

During World War II, Compton was a key figure in the Manhattan Project that developed the first nuclear weapons. His reports were important in launching the project. In 1942 he became head of the Metallurgical Laboratory, with responsibility for producing nuclear reactors to convert uranium into plutonium, finding ways to separate the plutonium from the uranium and to design an atomic bomb. Compton oversaw Enrico Fermi's creation of Chicago Pile-1, the first nuclear reactor, which went critical on December 2, 1942. The Metallurgical Laboratory was also responsible for the design and operation of the X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Plutonium began being produced in the Hanford Site reactors in 1945.

After the war, Compton became Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis. During his time as Chancellor, the university formally desegregated its undergraduate divisions, named its first female full professor, and enrolled a record number of students as wartime veterans returned to the United States.

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