Sir George Paget Thomson
English physicist whose work on interference phenomena in the scattering
of electrons by crystals helped to confirm the wavelike nature of particles.
He shared a Nobel prize 1937.
In the USA, C J Davisson made the same discovery independently, earlier
the same year, using a different method.
He was born and educated at Cambridge, the son of physicist J J Thomson.
His first professorship was 1922-30 at Aberdeen, moving to Imperial
College, London, 1930-52. During World War II, Thomson headed many government
committees, including one concerned with atomic weapons.
During the mid-1920s, Thomson carried out a series of experiments hoping
to verify French physicist Louis de Broglie's hypothesis that electrons
possess duality, acting both as particles and as waves. The experiment
involved bombarding very thin metal (aluminium, gold, and platinum)
and celluloid foils with a narrow beam of electrons. The beam was scattered
into a series of rings. Applying mathematical formulas to measurements
of the rings, together with a knowledge of the crystal lattice, Thomson
showed in 1927 that all the readings were in complete agreement with
de Broglie's theory.