Arthur Compton

Arthur Holly Compton (September 10, 1892 – March 15, 1962) was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927 for his 1923 discovery of the Compton effect, which demonstrated the particle nature of electromagnetic radiation. It was a sensational discovery at the time: the wave nature of light had been well-demonstrated, but the idea that light had both wave and particle properties was not easily accepted. He is also known for his leadership of the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory, and 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. He used X-rays to investigate ferromagnetism, concluding that it was a result of the alignment of electron spins, and studied cosmic rays, discovering that they were made up principally of positively charged particles.

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 tenure, the university formally desegregated its undergraduate divisions, named its first female full professor, and enrolled a record number of students after wartime veterans returned to the United States.

Arthur Compton
Arthur Compton 1927
Arthur Compton in 1927
Arthur Holly Compton

September 10, 1892
Wooster, Ohio, United States
DiedMarch 15, 1962 (aged 69)
Berkeley, California, United States
Alma materCollege of Wooster
Princeton University
Known forCompton scattering
Compton wavelength
Spouse(s)Betty Charity McCloskey (d. 1980)
ChildrenArthur Alan
John Joseph
AwardsNobel Prize for Physics (1927)
Matteucci Medal (1930)
Franklin Medal (1940)
Hughes Medal (1940)
Medal for Merit (1946)
Scientific career
InstitutionsWashington University in St. Louis
University of Chicago
University of Minnesota
Doctoral advisorHereward L. Cooke
Doctoral studentsLuis Walter Alvarez
Winston H. Bostick
Robert S. Shankland
Wu Youxun
Arthur Compton signature

Early life

Compton Heisenberg 1929 Chicago
Arthur Compton and Werner Heisenberg in 1929 in Chicago

Arthur Compton was born on September 10, 1892, in Wooster, Ohio, the son of Elias and Otelia Catherine (née Augspurger) Compton,[1] who was named American Mother of the Year in 1939.[2] They were an academic family. Elias was dean of the University of Wooster (later The College of Wooster), which Arthur also attended. Arthur's eldest brother, Karl, who also attended Wooster, earned a PhD in physics from Princeton University in 1912, and was president of MIT from 1930 to 1948. His second brother Wilson likewise attended Wooster, earned his PhD in economics from Princeton in 1916 and was president of the State College of Washington, later Washington State University from 1944 to 1951.[3] All three brothers were members of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.[4]

Compton was initially interested in astronomy, and took a photograph of Halley's Comet in 1910.[5] Around 1913, he described an experiment where an examination of the motion of water in a circular tube demonstrated the rotation of the earth.[6] That year, he graduated from Wooster with a Bachelor of Science degree and entered Princeton, where he received his Master of Arts degree in 1914.[7] Compton then studied for his PhD in physics under the supervision of Hereward L. Cooke, writing his dissertation on "The intensity of X-ray reflection, and the distribution of the electrons in atoms".[8]

When Arthur Compton earned his PhD in 1916, he, Karl and Wilson became the first group of three brothers to earn PhDs from Princeton. Later, they would become the first such trio to simultaneously head American colleges.[3] Their sister Mary married a missionary, C. Herbert Rice, who became the principal of Forman Christian College in Lahore.[9] In June 1916, Compton married Betty Charity McCloskey, a Wooster classmate and fellow graduate.[9] They had two sons, Arthur Alan and John Joseph Compton.[10]

Compton spent a year as a physics instructor at the University of Minnesota in 1916–17,[11] then two years as a research engineer with the Westinghouse Lamp Company in Pittsburgh, where he worked on the development of the sodium-vapor lamp. During World War I he developed aircraft instrumentation for the Signal Corps.[9]

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. Working with George Paget Thomson, the son of J. J. Thomson, Compton studied the scattering and absorption of gamma rays. He observed that the scattered rays were more easily absorbed than the original source.[11][12] Compton was greatly impressed by the Cavendish scientists, especially Ernest Rutherford, Charles Galton Darwin and Arthur Eddington, and he ultimately named his second son after J. J. Thomson.[12]

For a time Compton was a deacon at a Baptist church. "Science can have no quarrel", he said, "with a religion which postulates a God to whom men are as His children."[13]


Time Cover Arthur H Compton
Compton on the cover of Time Magazine on January 13, 1936, holding his cosmic ray detector

Compton effect

Returning to the United States, Compton was appointed Wayman Crow Professor of Physics, and Head of the Department of Physics at Washington University in St. Louis in 1920.[7] In 1922, he found that X-ray quanta scattered by free electrons had longer wavelengths and, in accordance with Planck's relation, less energy than the incoming X-rays, the surplus energy having been transferred to the electrons. This discovery, known as the "Compton effect" or "Compton scattering", demonstrated the particle concept of electromagnetic radiation.[14][15]

In 1923, Compton published a paper in the Physical Review that explained the X-ray shift by attributing particle-like momentum to photons, something Einstein had invoked for his 1905 Nobel Prize–winning explanation of the photo-electric effect. First postulated by Max Planck in 1900, these were conceptualized as elements of light "quantized" by containing a specific amount of energy depending only on the frequency of the light.[16] In his paper, Compton derived the mathematical relationship between the shift in wavelength and the scattering angle of the X-rays by assuming that each scattered X-ray photon interacted with only one electron. His paper concludes by reporting on experiments that verified his derived relation:


is the initial wavelength,
is the wavelength after scattering,
is the Planck constant,
is the electron rest mass,
is the speed of light, and
is the scattering angle.[15]

The quantity ​hmec is known as the Compton wavelength of the electron; it is equal to 2.43×10−12 m. The wavelength shift λ′λ lies between zero (for θ = 0°) and twice the Compton wavelength of the electron (for θ = 180°).[17] He found that some X-rays experienced no wavelength shift despite being scattered through large angles; in each of these cases the photon failed to eject an electron. Thus the magnitude of the shift is related not to the Compton wavelength of the electron, but to the Compton wavelength of the entire atom, which can be upwards of 10,000 times smaller.[15]

"When I presented my results at a meeting of the American Physical Society in 1923," Compton later recalled, "it initiated the most hotly contested scientific controversy that I have ever known."[18] The wave nature of light had been well demonstrated, and the idea that it could have a dual nature was not easily accepted. It was particularly telling that diffraction in a crystal lattice could only be explained with reference to its wave nature. It earned Compton the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927. Compton and Alfred W. Simon developed the method for observing at the same instant individual scattered X-ray photons and the recoil electrons. In Germany, Walther Bothe and Hans Geiger independently developed a similar method.[14]


Alvarez and Compton.jpeg
Compton at the University of Chicago in 1933 with graduate student Luis Alvarez next to his cosmic ray telescope.

In 1923, Compton moved to the University of Chicago as Professor of Physics,[7] a position he would occupy for the next 22 years.[14] In 1925, he demonstrated that the scattering of 130,000-volt X-rays from the first sixteen elements in the periodic table (hydrogen through sulfur) were polarized, a result predicted by J. J. Thomson. William Duane from Harvard University spearheaded an effort to prove that Compton's interpretation of the Compton effect was wrong. Duane carried out a series of experiments to disprove Compton, but instead found evidence that Compton was correct. In 1924, Duane conceded that this was the case.[14]

Compton investigated the effect of X-rays on the sodium and chlorine nuclei in salt. He used X-rays to investigate ferromagnetism, concluding that it was a result of the alignment of electron spins.[19] In 1926, he became a consultant for the Lamp Department at General Electric. In 1934, he returned to England as Eastman visiting professor at Oxford University. While there General Electric asked him to report on activities at General Electric Company plc's research laboratory at Wembley. Compton was intrigued by the possibilities of the research there into fluorescent lamps. His report prompted a research program in America that developed it.[20][21]

Compton's first book, X-Rays and Electrons, was published in 1926. In it he showed how to calculate the densities of diffracting materials from their X-ray diffraction patterns.[19] He revised his book with the help of Samuel K. Allison to produce X-Rays in Theory and Experiment (1935). This work remained a standard reference for the next three decades.[22]

Cosmic rays

By the early 1930s, Compton had become interested in cosmic rays. At the time, their existence was known but their origin and nature remained speculative. Their presence could be detected using a spherical "bomb" containing compressed air or argon gas and measuring its electrical conductivity. Trips to Europe, India, Mexico, Peru and Australia gave Compton the opportunity to measure cosmic rays at different altitudes and latitudes. Along with other groups who made observations around the globe, they found that cosmic rays were 15% more intense at the poles than at the equator. Compton attributed this to the effect of cosmic rays being made up principally of charged particles, rather than photons as Robert Millikan had suggested, with the latitude effect being due to Earth's magnetic field.[23]

Manhattan Project

Compton ID badge
Arthur Compton's ID badge from the Hanford Site. For security reasons he used a pseudonym.

In April 1941, Vannevar Bush, head of the wartime National Defense Research Committee (NDRC), created a special committee headed by Compton to report on the NDRC uranium program. Compton's report, which was submitted in May 1941, foresaw the prospects of developing radiological weapons, nuclear propulsion for ships, and nuclear weapons using uranium-235 or the recently discovered plutonium.[24] In October he wrote another report on the practicality of an atomic bomb. For this report, he worked with Enrico Fermi on calculations of the critical mass of uranium-235, conservatively estimating it to be between 20 kilograms (44 lb) and 2 tonnes (2.0 long tons; 2.2 short tons). He also discussed the prospects for uranium enrichment with Harold Urey, spoke with Eugene Wigner about how plutonium might be produced in a nuclear reactor, and with Robert Serber about how the plutonium produced in a reactor might be separated from uranium. His report, submitted in November, stated that a bomb was feasible, although he was more conservative about its destructive power than Mark Oliphant and his British colleagues.[25]

The final draft of Compton's November report made no mention of using plutonium, but after discussing the latest research with Ernest Lawrence, Compton became convinced that a plutonium bomb was also feasible. In December, Compton was placed in charge of the plutonium project.[26] He hoped to achieve a controlled chain reaction by January 1943, and to have a bomb by January 1945. To tackle the problem, he had the different research groups working on plutonium and nuclear reactor design at Columbia University, Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley, concentrated together as the Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago. Its objectives were to produce reactors to convert uranium to plutonium, to find ways to chemically separate the plutonium from the uranium, and to design and build an atomic bomb.[27]

In June 1942, the United States Army Corps of Engineers assumed control of the nuclear weapons program and Compton's Metallurgical Laboratory became part of the Manhattan Project.[28] That month, Compton gave Robert Oppenheimer responsibility for bomb design.[29] It fell to Compton to decide which of the different types of reactor designs that the Metallurgical Laboratory scientists had devised should be pursued, even though a successful reactor had not yet been built.[30]

When labor disputes delayed construction of the Metallurgical Laboratory's new home in the Red Gate Woods, Compton decided to build Chicago Pile-1, the first nuclear reactor, under the stands at Stagg Field.[31] Under Fermi's direction, it went critical on December 2, 1942.[32] Compton arranged for Mallinckrodt to undertake the purification of uranium ore,[33] and with DuPont to build the plutonium semi-works at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.[34]

A major crisis for the plutonium program occurred in July 1943, when Emilio Segrè's group confirmed that plutonium created in the X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge contained high levels of plutonium-240. Its spontaneous fission ruled out the use of plutonium in a gun-type nuclear weapon. Oppenheimer's Los Alamos Laboratory met the challenge by designing and building an implosion-type nuclear weapon.[25]

Arthur H. Compton House (7373049818)
Compton's house in Chicago, now a national landmark

Compton was at the Hanford site in September 1944 to watch the first reactor being brought online. The first batch of uranium slugs was fed into Reactor B at Hanford in November 1944, and shipments of plutonium to Los Alamos began in February 1945. [35] Throughout the war, Compton would remain a prominent scientific adviser and administrator. In 1945, he served, along with Lawrence, Oppenheimer, and Fermi, on the Scientific Panel that recommended military use of the atomic bomb against Japan.[36] He was awarded the Medal for Merit for his services to the Manhattan Project.[37]

Return to Washington University

After the war ended, Compton resigned his chair as Charles H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Physics at the University of Chicago and returned to Washington University in St. Louis, where he was inaugurated as the university's ninth Chancellor in 1946.[37] During Compton's time as Chancellor, the university formally desegregated its undergraduate divisions in 1952, named its first female full professor, and enrolled record numbers of students as wartime veterans returned to the United States. His reputation and connections in national scientific circles allowed him to recruit many nationally renowned scientific researchers to the university. Despite Compton's accomplishments, he was criticized then, and subsequently by historians, for moving too slowly toward full racial integration, making Washington University the last major institution of higher learning in St. Louis to open its doors to African Americans.[38]

Compton retired as Chancellor in 1954, but remained on the faculty as Distinguished Service Professor of Natural Philosophy until his retirement from the full-time faculty in 1961. In retirement he wrote Atomic Quest, a personal account of his role in the Manhattan Project, which was published in 1956.[37]


Compton was one of a handful of scientists and philosophers to propose a two-stage model of free will. Others include William James, Henri Poincaré, Karl Popper, Henry Margenau, and Daniel Dennett.[39] In 1931, Compton championed the idea of human freedom based on quantum indeterminacy, and invented the notion of amplification of microscopic quantum events to bring chance into the macroscopic world. In his somewhat bizarre mechanism, he imagined sticks of dynamite attached to his amplifier, anticipating the Schrödinger's cat paradox, which was published in 1935.[40]

Reacting to criticisms that his ideas made chance the direct cause of people's actions, Compton clarified the two-stage nature of his idea in an Atlantic Monthly article in 1955. First there is a range of random possible events, then one adds a determining factor in the act of choice.[41]

A set of known physical conditions is not adequate to specify precisely what a forthcoming event will be. These conditions, insofar as they can be known, define instead a range of possible events from among which some particular event will occur. When one exercises freedom, by his act of choice he is himself adding a factor not supplied by the physical conditions and is thus himself determining what will occur. That he does so is known only to the person himself. From the outside one can see in his act only the working of physical law. It is the inner knowledge that he is in fact doing what he intends to do that tells the actor himself that he is free.[41]

Death and legacy

CGRO s37-96-010
The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory released into Earth's orbit in 1991

Compton died in Berkeley, California, from a cerebral hemorrhage on March 15, 1962. He was survived by his wife, who died in 1980 and sons. Compton is buried in the Wooster Cemetery in Wooster, Ohio.[10] Before his death, he was Professor-at-Large at the University of California, Berkeley for Spring 1962.[42]

Compton received many awards in his lifetime, including the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1927, the Matteucci Gold Medal in 1933, the Royal Society's Hughes Medal and the Franklin Institute's Benjamin Franklin Medal in 1940.[43] He is commemorated in various ways. The Compton crater on the Moon is co-named for Compton and his brother Karl.[44] The physics research building at Washington University in St Louis is named in his honor,[45] as is the university's top fellowship for undergraduate students studying math, physics, or planetary science.[46] Compton invented a more gentle, elongated, and ramped version of the speed bump called the "Holly hump," many of which are on the roads of the Washington University campus.[47] The University of Chicago Residence Halls remembered Compton and his achievements by dedicating Arthur H. Compton House in Chicago in his honor.[48] It is now listed as a National Historic Landmark.[49] Compton also has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.[50] NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory was named in honor of Compton. The Compton effect is central to the gamma ray detection instruments aboard the observatory.[51]


  • Compton, Arthur (1926). X-Rays and Electrons: An Outline of Recent X-Ray Theory. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. OCLC 1871779.
  • Compton, Arthur; with Allison, S. K. (1935). X-Rays in Theory and Experiment. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. OCLC 853654.
  • Compton, Arthur (1935). The Freedom of Man. New Haven: Yale University Press. OCLC 5723621.
  • Compton, Arthur (1940). The Human Meaning of Science. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. OCLC 311688.
  • Compton, Arthur (1949). Man's Destiny in Eternity. Boston: Beacon Press. OCLC 4739240.
  • Compton, Arthur (1956). Atomic Quest. New York: Oxford University Press. OCLC 173307.
  • Compton, Arthur (1967). Johnston, Marjorie (ed.). The Cosmos of Arthur Holly Compton. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. OCLC 953130.
  • Compton, Arthur (1973). Shankland, Robert S. (ed.). Scientific Papers of Arthur Holly Compton. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-11430-9. OCLC 962635.


  1. ^ Hockey 2007, p. 244.
  2. ^ "Past National Mothers of the Year". American Mothers, Inc. Archived from the original on March 23, 2011. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Compton 1967, p. 425.
  4. ^ "The Official History of the Beta Beta Chapter of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity". Alpha Tau Fraternity. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  5. ^ Compton 1967, pp. 11–12.
  6. ^ Compton, A. H. (May 23, 1913). "A Laboratory Method of Demonstrating the Earth's Rotation". Science. 37 (960): 803–06. Bibcode:1913Sci....37..803C. doi:10.1126/science.37.960.803. PMID 17838837.
  7. ^ a b c "Arthur H. Compton – Biography". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  8. ^ "Arthur Holly Compton (1892–1962)" (PDF). University of Notre Dame. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c Allison 1965, p. 82.
  10. ^ a b Allison 1965, p. 94.
  11. ^ a b Allison 1965, p. 83.
  12. ^ a b Compton 1967, p. 27.
  13. ^ "Science: Cosmic Clearance". Time Magazine. January 13, 1936.
  14. ^ a b c d Allison 1965, pp. 84–86.
  15. ^ a b c Compton, Arthur H. (May 1923). "A Quantum Theory of the Scattering of X-Rays by Light Elements". Physical Review. 21 (5): 483–502. Bibcode:1923PhRv...21..483C. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.21.483. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
  16. ^ Gamow 1966, pp. 17–23.
  17. ^ "The Compton wavelength of the electron". University of California Riverside. Archived from the original on 1996-11-10. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  18. ^ Compton 1967, p. 36.
  19. ^ a b Allison 1965, pp. 87–88.
  20. ^ Allison 1965, pp. 88–89.
  21. ^ "Eastman Professorship". The Association of American Rhodes Scholars. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  22. ^ Allison 1965, p. 90.
  23. ^ Compton 1967, pp. 157–163.
  24. ^ Hewlett & Anderson 1962, pp. 36–38.
  25. ^ a b Hewlett & Anderson 1962, pp. 46–49.
  26. ^ Hewlett & Anderson 1962, pp. 50–51.
  27. ^ Hewlett & Anderson 1962, pp. 54–55.
  28. ^ Hewlett & Anderson 1962, pp. 74–75.
  29. ^ Hewlett & Anderson 1962, p. 103.
  30. ^ Hewlett & Anderson 1962, pp. 180–181.
  31. ^ Hewlett & Anderson 1962, pp. 108–109.
  32. ^ Hewlett & Anderson 1962, p. 174.
  33. ^ Allison 1965, p. 92.
  34. ^ Hewlett & Anderson 1962, pp. 190–191.
  35. ^ Hewlett & Anderson 1962, pp. 304–310.
  36. ^ "Recommendations on the Immediate Use of Nuclear Weapons". Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  37. ^ a b c Allison 1965, p. 93.
  38. ^ Pfeiffenberger, Amy M. (Winter 1989). "Democracy at Home: The Struggle to Desegregate Washington University in the Postwar Era". Gateway-Heritage. Missouri Historical Society. 10 (3): 17–24.
  39. ^ "Two-Stage Models for Free Will". The Information Philosopher. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  40. ^ Compton, A. H. (August 14, 1931). "The Uncertainty Principle and Free Will". Science. 74 (1911): 172. Bibcode:1931Sci....74..172C. doi:10.1126/science.74.1911.172. PMID 17808216.
  41. ^ a b Compton 1967, p. 121.
  42. ^ "Arthur Holly Compton: Systemwide". California Digital Library. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  43. ^ Allison 1965, p. 97.
  44. ^ "Compton". Tangient LLC. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  45. ^ "Arthur Holly Compton Laboratory of Physics". Washington University. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  46. ^ "Honorary Scholars Program in Arts and Sciences". Washington University. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  47. ^ "Compton Speed Bumps for Traffic Control, 1953". Washington University. Archived from the original on July 19, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  48. ^ "Compton House". University of Chicago. Archived from the original on December 1, 2005. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  49. ^ "Compton, Arthur H., House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on February 12, 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  50. ^ St. Louis Walk of Fame. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees". Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  51. ^ "The CGRO Mission (1991–2000)". NASA. Retrieved July 27, 2013.


External links



was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar, the 1892nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 892nd year of the 2nd millennium, the 92nd year of the 19th century, and the 3rd year of the 1890s decade. As of the start of 1892, the Gregorian calendar was

12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

Arthur H. Compton House

The Arthur H. Compton House is a historic house at 5637 South Woodlawn Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Built in 1916, it was the residence of physicist Arthur Compton (1892-1962) from the late 1920s until 1945. Compton discovered the Compton Effect in 1923, proving that light has both a particle and a wave aspect. Compton received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927 for this discovery. His house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Clan Farquharson

Clan Farquharson ( (listen)) (Scottish Gaelic: Clann Fhearchair [ˈkʰl̪ˠãũn̪ˠ ˈfɛɾɛxɪɾʲ]) of Invercauld is a Highland Scottish clan and is a member of the Chattan Confederation.

Compton (surname)

Compton is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Ann Compton, journalist

Arthur Compton, physicist and Nobel Prize winner, of the Compton effect, brother of Karl Taylor Compton and Wilson Martindale Compton, below

Brendan Compton, Production test pilot at Hawker Beechcraft Corporation in Wichita, Kansas

Barnes Compton, Maryland congressman and state officeholder

Charles H. Compton (1880–1966), American librarian and educator

Christian Compton, Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia

Cliff Compton (born 1979), American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Domino

D.G. Compton, science fiction author

Denis Compton, England cricketer and footballer

Edward Theodore Compton, English-born, German artist, illustrator and mountain climber

Erik Compton, Norwegian-American professional golfer

F. E. Compton, publisher

Fay Compton, (1894–1974), English actress

Francis Compton (Conservative politician) (1824–1915), English lawyer and Conservative MP

Sir Francis Compton (c. 1629–1716), English soldier and MP for Warwick

Frances Snow Compton, a pseudonym used by Henry Adams

Henry Compton, Bishop of London

Henry Compton (actor), English actor

Herbert Eastwick Compton (1856–1906), English writer

Ivy Compton-Burnett, English novelist

John Compton, leader of Saint Lucia United Workers Party

John Compton, London pipe & electronic organ maker

Karl Taylor Compton, physicist, one-time president of MIT, brother of Arthur Compton, above, Wilson Martindale Compton, below

Katie Compton, American bicycle racer

Leslie Compton, English footballer and cricketer

Lynn Compton, lead prosecutor in the Sirhan Sirhan trial and 101st Airborne World War II-veteran

Nick Compton, English cricketer

O'Neal Compton, American film and television actor

Patrick Compton, South African cricketer

Paul Compton, English footballer and football manager

Richard Compton, American actor

Richard G. Compton, chemist

Richard Compton (cricketer), South African cricketer

Robert Harold Compton, botanist

Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington

Wayde Compton, Canadian writer

William Compton (courtier), lover of Henry VIII's notorious mistress, Anne Stafford; the two were prosecuted for adultery

Wilson Martindale Compton, fifth president of Washington State University, brother of Arthur Compton and Karl Taylor Compton, above

Compton wavelength

The Compton wavelength is a quantum mechanical property of a particle. It was introduced by Arthur Compton in his explanation of the scattering of photons by electrons (a process known as Compton scattering). The Compton wavelength of a particle is equal to the wavelength of a photon whose energy is the same as the mass (see mass–energy equivalence) of that particle.

The standard Compton wavelength, λ, of a particle is given by

where h is the Planck constant, m is the particle's mass, and c is the speed of light. The significance of this formula is shown in the derivation of the Compton shift formula.

The CODATA 2014 value for the Compton wavelength of the electron is 2.4263102367(11)×10−12 m. Other particles have different Compton wavelengths.

Compton–Getting effect

The Compton–Getting effect is an apparent anisotropy in the intensity of radiation or particles due to the relative motion between the observer and the source. This effect was first identified in the intensity of cosmic rays by Arthur Compton and Ivan A. Getting in 1935. Gleeson and Axford provide a full derivation of the equations relevant to this effect.The original application of the Compton–Getting effect predicted that the intensity of cosmic rays should be higher coming from the direction in which Earth is moving. For the case of cosmic rays the Compton–Getting effect only applies to those that are unaffected by the Solar wind such as extremely high energy rays. It has been calculated that the speed of the Earth within the galaxy (200 kilometres per second (120 mi/s)) would result in a difference between the strongest and weakest cosmic ray intensities of about 0.1%. This small difference is within the capabilities of modern instruments to detect, and was observed in 1986.

Forman (1970) derives the Compton–Getting effect anisotropy from the Lorentz invariance of the phase space distribution function. Ipavich (1974) furthers this general derivation to derive count rates with respect to the flow vector.This Compton–Getting effect is apparent in plasma data in Earth's magnetotail. The Compton–Getting effect has also been utilized for analyzing energetic neutral atom (ENA) data returned by the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft at Saturn.

David L. Webster

David Locke Webster (November 6, 1888 – December 17, 1976) was an American physicist and physics professor, whose early research on X-rays and Parson's magneton influenced Arthur Compton.

Donald J. Hughes

Donald J. Hughes (April 2, 1915 – April 12, 1960) was an American nuclear physicist, chiefly notable as one of the signers of the Franck Report in June, 1945, recommending that the United States not use the atomic bomb as a weapon to prompt the surrender of Japan in World War II.Before the war Hughes worked at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory. By June 1945, the U.S. was deciding whether to use an atomic bomb against Japan, and a very few nuclear scientists knew about the weapon's potential. Some, including Hughes, were wary, and wanted to urge the President of the United States to choose a different option. Arthur Compton appointed a committee to meet in secret, in all-night sessions in a highly secure environment. This committee included Hughes, and was chaired by James Franck. The final report, largely written by committee-member Eugene Rabinowitch, recommended that the nuclear bomb not be used, and proposed that either a demonstration of the "new weapon" be made before the eyes of representatives of all of the United Nations, on a barren island or desert, or to try to keep the existence of the nuclear bomb secret for as long as possible. The advice of the "Franck Report" was not followed, however, and the U.S. dropped nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After the war Hughes went to Brookhaven National Laboratory and formed a group of physicists working on contemporary problems in nuclear science. His work centered on the neutron. Many of his publications were translated into Russian; more copies of his work were printed in the USSR than in the USA. He also spent one year at Oxford teaching.

He wrote a popular science book, The Neutron Story, published 1959.

Hughes died suddenly in 1960.

Forman Christian College

Forman Christian College is a independent research liberal arts university located in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan founded in 1864. The university is administered by the Presbyterian Church and follows an American-style curriculum.Founded in 1864 by American Presbyterian missionary Dr. Charles William Forman, the college was initially named Mission College, and changed its name in 1894 to Forman Christian College, in honor of its founder. Forman served as an associated college of the University of Calcutta until 1947 when it became affiliated with the University of Punjab. In 2004, the government granted it university charter hence providing it with degree awarding authority.The college was initially based in the Rang Mahal in Walled City of Lahore, which was leased by Dr. Charles from the grand wazir of Emperor Shah Jahan with the support from foreign missions. In 1889 it was shifted to Napier Road and was inaugurated by the Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne. Again, in 1940, the college was moved to its present campus on the banks of the Lahore Canal in 1940. The college remained financial autonomous until 1960 when Pakistani government began annual grants to the college for its nursing program. The college was nationalised in 1972 until 2003 when the control was returned to the Presbyterian Church.Forman is also known for its noted alumni and staff, including Nobel laureate Arthur Compton, former Indian Prime Minister I. K. Gujral, former Pakistani Presidents Farooq Leghari and Pervez Musharraf, and activist Eqbal Ahmad. As of 2016, Forman is home to 6,347 students, 220 full-time faculty members with over 100 possessing PhDs, and 21,700 strong alumni. Christians make up nearly 15% of the student body while the college runs a $1 million fund to finance scholarships for its students. As of 2016, the college has been ranked 9th highest in Pakistan among medium-sized universities and is the only institute in Pakistan which is a member of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance.

The current Rector of FCC is Sir James Tebbe.

Franck Report

The Franck Report of June 1945 was a document signed by several prominent nuclear physicists recommending that the United States not use the atomic bomb as a weapon to prompt the surrender of Japan in World War II.

The report was named for James Franck, the head of the committee that produced it. The committee was appointed by Arthur Compton and met in secret, in all-night sessions in a highly secure environment. Largely written by Eugene Rabinowitch, the report spoke about the impossibility to keep the United States atomic discoveries secret indefinitely. It predicted a nuclear arms race, forcing the United States to develop nuclear armaments at such a pace that no other nation would think of attacking first from fear of overwhelming retaliation. This prediction turned out to be accurate, as the nuclear arms race and the concept of mutual assured destruction became a major factor in the Cold War. The report recommended that the nuclear bomb not be used, and proposed that either a demonstration of the "new weapon" be made before the eyes of representatives of all of the United Nations, on a barren island or desert, or to try to keep the existence of the nuclear bomb secret for as long as possible.In the first case, the international community would be warned of the dangers and encouraged to develop an effective international control on such weapons. In the later case, the United States would gain several years time to further develop their nuclear armament, before other countries would start their own production. The Franck Report was signed by James Franck (Chairman), Donald J. Hughes, J. J. Nickson, Eugene Rabinowitch, Glenn T. Seaborg, J. C. Stearns, and Leó Szilárd.

Franck took the report to Washington June 12, where the Interim Committee, appointed by President Truman to advise him on use of the atomic bomb, met on June 21 to reexamine its earlier conclusions. However, this committee reaffirmed that there was no alternative to the use of the bomb and on August 6 and 9, the Americans dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Report was declassified and released to the public in early 1946, but Manhattan Project officials required the censorship of some passages.

Franklin Medal

The Franklin Medal was a science award presented from 1915 through 1997 by the Franklin Institute located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. It was founded in 1914 by Samuel Insull.

The Franklin Medal was the most prestigious of the various awards presented by the Franklin Institute. Together with other historical awards, it was merged into the Benjamin Franklin Medal, initiated in 1998.

George Dance (dramatist)

Sir George Dance (14 October 1857 – 22 October 1932) was an English lyricist and librettist in the 1890s and an important theatrical manager at the beginning of the 20th century.

Dance wrote several hit musicals, including The Gay Parisienne (1894) and A Chinese Honeymoon (1899), one of the most successful musicals in history until the 1940s. In the early years of the 20th century, he became one of the most successful theatrical managers in the United Kingdom, managing many productions both on the West End and on tour.

Gregory Breit

Gregory Breit (Russian: Григорий Альфредович Брейт-Шнайдер, Grigory Alfredovich Breit-Shneider; July 14, 1899, Mykolaiv, Kherson Governorate – September 13, 1981, Salem, Oregon) was a Russian-born American physicist and professor at NYU (1929–1934), U. of Wisconsin–Madison (1934–1947), Yale (1947–1968), and Buffalo (1968–1973). In 1921, he was Paul Ehrenfest's assistant in Leiden.

Health physics

Health physics is the applied physics of radiation protection for health and health care purposes. It is the science concerned with the recognition, evaluation, and control of health hazards to permit the safe use and application of ionizing radiation. Health physics professionals promote excellence in the science and practice of radiation protection and safety. Health physicists principally work at facilities where radionuclides or other sources of ionizing radiation (such as X-ray generators) are used or produced; these include hospitals, government laboratories, academic and research institutions, nuclear power plants, regulatory agencies, and manufacturing plants.

List of National Historic Landmarks in Illinois

There are 87 National Historic Landmarks in Illinois, including Eads Bridge, which spans into Missouri and which the National Park Service credits to Missouri's National Historic Landmark list. Also included are two sites that were once National Historic Landmarks before having their designations removed. All National Historic Landmarks are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

List of Nobel laureates affiliated with Washington University in St. Louis

The Nobel Prizes are awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Karolinska Institute, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee to individuals who make outstanding contributions in the fields of chemistry, physics, literature, peace, and physiology or medicine. They were established by the 1895 will of Alfred Nobel, which dictates that the awards should be administered by the Nobel Foundation. Another prize, the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, was established in 1968 by the Sveriges Riksbank, the central bank of Sweden, for contributors to the field of economics. Each prize is awarded by a separate committee; the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, and Economics, the Karolinska Institute awards the Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Prize in Peace. Each recipient receives a medal, a diploma and a cash prize that has varied throughout the years. In 1901, the winners of the first Nobel Prizes were given 150,782 SEK, which is equal to 7,731,004 SEK in December 2007. In 2008, the winners were awarded a prize amount of 10,000,000 SEK. The awards are presented in Stockholm in an annual ceremony on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death.As of 2014, there have been 23 laureates affiliated with Washington University in St. Louis. Washington University considers laureates who attended the university as undergraduate students, graduate students or were members of the faculty as affiliated laureates. Arthur Compton, the chancellor of the university from 1945 to 1953, was the first laureate affiliated with the university, winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927. Four Nobel Prizes were shared by Washington University laureates; Joseph Erlanger and Herbert Spencer Gasser won the 1944 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Carl Ferdinand Cori and wife Gerty Cori won the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Arthur Kornberg and Severo Ochoa won the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and Daniel Nathans and George Davis Snell won the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Seventeen Washington University laureates have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, more than any other category. With the exception of Daniel Nathans, who received his M.D. from Washington University and William E. Moerner who received his undergraduate degrees from the university, all Washington University laureates have been members of the university faculty. Also of note, co-discoverer of the neutrino Clyde Cowan, received master's and doctoral degrees from the university but died before the Nobel Prize was awarded for that work in 1995.

Matteucci Medal

The Matteucci Medal is an Italian award for physicists, named after Carlo Matteucci. It was established to award physicists for their fundamental contributions. Under an Italian Royal Decree dated July 10, 1870, the Italian Society of Sciences was authorized to receive a donation from Carlo Matteucci for the establishment of the Prize.

Matteucci MedalistsSource: Italian Society of Sciences

Paul Stanley (composer)

Paul Stanley (né Sonnenberg) (February 8, 1848 – March 14, 1909) was a German-born American composer and vaudeville comedian who some credit (but most do not) with writing the music for the ditty Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay for Henry F. Sayers' 1891 musical entertainment, Tuxedo.

Winston H. Bostick

Winston H. Bostick (March 5, 1916 – January 19, 1991) was an American physicist who discovered plasmoids, plasma focus, and plasma vortex phenomena. He simulated cosmical astrophysics with laboratory plasma experiments, and showed that Hubble expansion can be produced with repulsive mutual induction between neighboring galaxies acting as homopolar generators. His work on plasmas was claimed to be evidence for finite-sized elementary particles and the composition of strings, but this is not accepted by mainstream science.

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