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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lord Rayleigh

John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh
Born 12 November 1842(1842-11-12)
Langford Grove, Maldon, Essex, England
Died 30 June 1919 (aged 76)
Terling Place, Witham, Essex, England
Nationality United Kingdom
Fields Physics
Institutions University of Cambridge
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Doctoral advisor Edward John Routh
Doctoral students J. J. Thomson
George Paget Thomson
Jagdish Chandra Bose
Known for Discovery of argon
Rayleigh waves
Rayleigh scattering
Rayleigh criterion
Duplex Theory
Theory of Sound
Rayleigh flow
Notable awards Nobel Prize for Physics (1904)
Signature

John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh OM (12 November 1842 – 30 June 1919) was an English physicist who, with William Ramsay, discovered the element argon, an achievement for which he earned the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1904. He also discovered the phenomenon now called Rayleigh scattering, explaining why the sky is blue, and predicted the existence of the surface waves now known as Rayleigh waves.

Contents

Biography

Strutt was born in Langford Grove, Essex and in his early years suffered frailty and poor health. He attended Harrow School and began studying mathematics at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, in 1861. In 1865, he obtained his BA (Senior Wrangler and 1st Smith's prize) and MA in 1868.[1] He was subsequently elected to a Fellowship of Trinity. He held the post until his marriage to Evelyn Balfour, daughter of James Maitland Balfour in 1871. He had three sons with her.[2]

In 1873 his father, John Strutt, 2nd Baron Rayleigh, died and he inherited the Barony of Rayleigh.

He was the second Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge, following James Clerk Maxwell in this position from 1879 to 1884. He first described dynamic soaring by seabirds in 1883, in the British journal Nature.

Around the year 1900 Lord Rayleigh developed the Duplex (combination of two) Theory of Human sound localization using two binaural cues, and interaural time delay (ITD) and interaural level difference (ILD) (assuming a spherical head with no external pinnae). Humans perceive sound objects spatially, using the difference in the phase (time delay) of the sound and the difference in amplitude (level) between the two ears, in a similar way that stereoscopic sight provides depth perception. The theory posits that we use two primary cues for azimuth (horizontal location) as well as for a 3-dimensional bearing, although pinnae reflections are considered a main cue for vertical localisation. For example, when you hear a seagull call, you can determine roughly the location of the sound on mental x, y, and z axes.

Lord Rayleigh was elected Fellow of the Royal Society on 12 June, 1873, and served as president of the Royal Society from 1905 to 1908. From time to time Lord Rayleigh participated in the House of Lords; however, he only spoke up if politics attempted to become involve in science. He died on 30 June, 1919, in Witham, Essex.[3]

Honours and Awards

Craters on Mars and the Moon are named in his honor as well as a type of surface wave known as a Rayleigh wave. The asteroid 22740 Rayleigh was named in his honour on 1 June 2007.[4]

Publications

See also

References

  1. ^ Strutt, the Hon. John William in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  2. ^ "Lord Rayleigh - Biography". Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Foundation. 1904. http://www.nobel.se/physics/laureates/1904/strutt-bio.html. Retrieved 2008-07-23.  
  3. ^ The Nobel Foundation (2009). "Lord Rayleigh - Biography". The Nobel Foundation. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1904/strutt-bio.html. Retrieved 2009-12-12.  
  4. ^ JPL (2008). "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 22740 Rayleigh". NASA. http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=22740. Retrieved 2008-07-23.  

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Carlingford
Lord Lieutenant of Essex
1892–1901
Succeeded by
The Earl of Warwick
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Devonshire
Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
1908–1919
Succeeded by
Arthur Balfour
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Strutt
Baron Rayleigh
1873–1919
Succeeded by
Robert Strutt
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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The only merit of which I personally am conscious was that of having pleased myself by my studies, and any results that may be due to my researches were owing to the fact that it has been a pleasure for me to become a physicist.

John William Strutt (12 November 184230 June 1919) was an English physicist who, with William Ramsay, discovered the element argon, an achievement for which he earned the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1904. He also discovered the phenomenon now called Rayleigh scattering, explaining why the sky is blue, and predicted the existence of the surface waves now known as Rayleigh waves.

Sourced

The work may be hard, and the discipline severe; but the interest never fails, and great is the privilege of achievement.
  • Without encroaching upon grounds appertaining to the theologian and the philosopher, the domain of natural sciences is surely broad enough to satisfy the wildest ambition of its devotees. In other departments of human life and interest, true progress is rather an article of faith than a rational belief; but in science a retrograde movements is, from the nature of the case, almost impossible. Increasing knowledge brings with it increasing power, and great as are the triumphs of the present century, we may well believe that they are but a foretaste of what discovery and invention have yet in store for mankind. ... The work may be hard, and the discipline severe; but the interest never fails, and great is the privilege of achievement.
    • Address to the British Association in Montreal (1884)
  • The history of this paper suggests that highly speculative investigations, especially by an unknown author, are best brought before the world through some other channel than a scientific society, which naturally hesitates to admit into its printed records matter of uncertain value. Perhaps one may go further, and say that a young author who believes himself capable of great things would usually do well to secure the favourable recognition of the scientific world by work whose scope is limited, and whose value is easily judged, before embarking upon higher flights.
    • About John James Waterston's rejected paper about ideal gas kinetic energy. Lord Rayleigh (1892). Introduction to Waterston's Memoir "On the physics of media that are composed of free and perfectly elastic molecules in a state of motion", Philosophical Transactions, 183A, p. 1-5. Royal Society.  
  • The only merit of which I personally am conscious was that of having pleased myself by my studies, and any results that may be due to my researches were owing to the fact that it has been a pleasure for me to become a physicist.
    • On receiving the Order of Merit (1902)

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