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Cecil Powell

Cecil PowellAKA Cecil Frank Powell

Born: 5-Dec-1903
Birthplace: Tonbridge, Kent, England
Died: 9-Aug-1969
Location of death: Milan, Italy
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Discovered the pi-meson

British physicist Cecil Powell studied under Ernest Rutherford and C. T. R. Wilson, and became a mid-20th century expert in the use of photographic emulsions to study nuclear particles, authoring two widely respected books on the subject. In 1947, using techniques of his design, the heavy subatomic particle pi-meson (or pion) in cosmic rays was discovered in Powell's laboratory, confirming the existence of mesons as predicted twelve years earlier by the Japanese physicist Hideki Yukawa. The actual discovery was made by a Brazilian student of Powell's, Cesare Lattes (1924-2005), but the credit and eventually the Nobel Prize in Physics went to Powell in 1950, a year after Yukawa received the same honor. Before marrying in 1932, Powell shared an apartment with another future Nobel laureate, Max Delbrück. He also studied volcanic phenomena and conducted high-altitude balloon investigations of cosmic rays.

Father: Frank Powell (gunsmith)
Mother: Elizabeth Caroline Bisacre Powell
Sister: Phyllis Powell (b. circa 1906)
Wife: Isobel Therese Artner (b. 12-Sep-1907, m. 1932, d. 15-Oct-1995, two daughters)

    High School: Judd School, Tonbridge, Kent, England
    University: BS Natural Sciences, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (1925)
    University: PhD Physics, Cambridge University (1927)
    Teacher: Physics, University of Bristol (1927-48)
    Professor: Melville Wills Professor of Physics, University of Bristol (1948-69)
    Administrator: Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol (1964-69)

    Nobel Prize for Physics 1950
    Hughes Medal 1949
    Royal Medal 1961
    Mikhail Lomonosov Gold Medal 1967
    CERN Scientific Policy Committee
    Royal Society 1949
    Russian Academy of Sciences Foreign Member
    World Federation of Scientific Workers
    Huguenot Ancestry Maternal
    Welsh Ancestry Paternal
    Heart Attack 9-Aug-1969 (fatal)

Author of books:
Nuclear Physics in Photographs (1947, with Giuseppe Occhialini)
The Cosmic Radiation (1951)
The Study of Elementary Particles by the Photographic Method (1959)
Selected Papers of Cecil Frank Powell (1972, posthumous)


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