The Perse School

Sir George Thomson (1910)


Sir George left The Perse to read Mathematics and Physics at Trinity College, Cambridge, until his studies were interrupted by the outbreak of war in 1914. During the war he served in the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment and rose to the rank of Captain.

Sir George became a Fellow at Cambridge, and had a successful academic career, with posts at Cornell University, Imperial College London, and the University of Aberdeen, where he discovered the diffraction of electrons by crystals with Clinton Joseph Davisson. This discovery led to them being jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1937.

In the late 1930s and throughout the Second World War, Sir George specialised in nuclear physics, and was the chairman of the 1940-41 MAUD Committee, that concluded the feasibility of the atomic bomb.

Sir George was awarded a knighthood in 1943, and became Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1952.

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