On This Day…

On the 27th May 1897 Nobel Prize winner & former signaller Sir John Cockcroft was born


Sir John Cockroft served in the Royal Horse Artillery in World War One for three years as a signaller and then briefly as a lieutenant.

After the war Cockroft was involved in atomic research and with fellow researcher Ernest Walton transformed the nucleus of a lithium atom by bombarding it with high-energy particles. This provided the basis for nuclear fission.

In World War Two he worked on radar and air defence and then headed the Canadian Atomic Energy project. In 1946 he became Director of the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell (before Schonland). With Walton, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1951 for pioneering atomic work.