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John Cockcroft

John CockcroftAKA John Douglas Cockcroft

Born: 27-May-1897
Birthplace: Todmorden, Yorkshire, England
Died: 18-Sep-1967
Location of death: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England

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

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Split the atom

Military service: Royal Field Artillery (1915-18)

English physicist John Cockcroft studied under Ernest Rutherford and, working with Ernest T. S. Walton, became the first scientist to successfully split the atom, accomplished on 13 April 1932 and announced two weeks later, on 28 April 1932. Their experiment divided the nucleus at the heart of the atom using quantum mechanical tunneling, transforming lithium into helium and other elements. Cockcroft was knighted in 1948, and he and Walton shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1951. He later served as Director of the United Kingdom's Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, where he oversaw development of the UK's first atomic weapons.

Father: John Arthur Cockcroft (cotton miller, d. 1927)
Mother: Annie Maude Fielden Cockcroft
Brother: Eric Cockcroft (cotton miller)
Brother: Keith Cockcroft (cotton miller)
Brother: Leo Cockcroft (cotton miller)
Wife: Eunice Elizabeth Crabtree Cockcroft (m. 1925, four daughters, two sons)

    High School: Todmorden Secondary School, Todmorden, West Yorkshire, England (1914)
    University: University of Manchester (attended 1914-15, 1919-20)
    University: BS Mathematics, St. John's College, Cambridge University (1924)
    Scholar: Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University (1924-28)
    Lecturer: Natural Philosophy, University of Cambridge (1928-39)
    Professor: Natural Philosophy, University of Cambridge (1939-40)
    Professor: Natural Philosophy, University of Cambridge (1944-59)
    Administrator: Master, Churchill College, Cambridge University (1959-67)
    Administrator: Chancellor, Australian National University (1961-65)

    Hughes Medal 1938 (with Ernest T. S. Walton)
    Commander of the British Empire 1944
    Knight of the British Empire 1948
    Nobel Prize for Physics 1951 (with Ernest T. S. Walton)
    Knighthood Knight Commander, Order of the Bath (1953)
    Royal Medal 1954
    Order of Merit 1957
    Metropolitan-Vickers Company Engineering Apprentice (1920-22)
    UK Official Assistant Director of Scientific Research, Ministry of Supply (1939-40)
    UK Official Air Defence Research and Development Establishment (1940-44)
    Canadian Official Chalk River Laboratories, Ottawa, Canada (Director, 1944-46)
    UK Official UK Atomic Energy Research Establishment (Director, 1946-54)
    UK Official UK Atomic Energy Authority (1954-59)
    Royal Society
    Physical Society of London (President, 1960-62)
    British Association for the Advancement of Science (President, 1961-63)
    English Ancestry
    Lunar Crater Cockcroft (31.3 N, 162.6 W, 93 km. diameter)

Author of books:
The Organization of Research Establishments (1965, non-fiction)


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