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Charles Glover Barkla

1877-1944
Physicist and Nobel Prize Winner

He was born in Widnes and studied at the Liverpool Institute and Liverpool University. After some years of research at Cambridge, Barkla returned to Liverpool in 1902 and devoted himself to the study of röntgen radiation.  In 1913, after having worked at the universities of Cambridge, Liverpool and King's College London he was appointed professor of natural philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, a position he held until his death. He married Mary Esther Cowell in 1907.

He evolved the laws of X-ray scattering and the laws governing the transmission of X rays through matter and excitation of secondary rays.  Barkla also confirmed that this radiation has a definite permeability, specific for each element.   Barkla won the 1917 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the characteristic X-rays of elements.  He was awarded the Royal Society's Hughes Medal that same year.

The lunar crater Barkla was named in his honour and a commemorative plaque is in the vicinity of the Canongate, near the Faculty of Education Buildings, University of Edinburgh.

In 1977 he was honoured by the Swedish Post Office with a commemorative stamp.

RA