Arthur Compton

Physicist, Academic

1892 – 1962

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Who was Arthur Compton?

Arthur Holly Compton was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927 for his discovery of the Compton effect. He is also known 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.

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Born
Sep 10, 1892
Wooster
Also known as
  • Arthur Holly Compton
  • Dr. Arthur H. Compton
  • Arthur H. Compton
Parents
Siblings
Religion
  • Presbyterianism
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • The College of Wooster
  • PhD, Princeton University
    Physics
    (1914 - 1916)
  • University of Cambridge
Employment
  • Washington University in St. Louis
Lived in
  • Ohio
  • Missouri
    (1945 - )
Died
Mar 15, 1962
Berkeley

Submitted
on July 23, 2013