Sir Marcus Laurence Elwin Oliphant, the Great Australian Physicist

Sir Marcus Laurence Elwin Oliphant, the Great Australian Physicist

Document details
Category: Science Essay
Subcategory: Biology
Words: 580
Pages: 3

Marcus Laurence Elwin Oliphant, was the eldest of five sons, and was born in 1901 in Kent Town, near Adelaide, South Australia. His father was a civil servant and his mother was an artist. Oliphant was interested in a career in medicine or chemistry, and in 1919 started studying at the University of Adelaide. However, his physics teacher, Dr Roy Burdon, helped him discover the lovely feeling when there is a discovery in the field of physics, and Oliphant began studying Physics more closely. In 1925, Oliphant was further inspired in the field of physics after attending a lecture by Ernest Rutherford, a New Zealand physicist. An expert in the field of nuclear physics, Rutherford had made discoveries about radioactivity and the atomic nucleus. In 1927 Oliphant gained the opportunity to live his dream of becoming a physicist. He won an '1851 Exhibitioner' scholarship that allowed him to study under the supervision of Rutherford at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University in England. Oliphant made his most significant works in science during his stay at the Cavendish Laboratory. He researched nuclear physics, and worked on the artificial disintegration of the atomic nucleus, and positive ions. During this period many discoveries were made at the Cavendish Laboratory, and the field of nuclear physics was rapidly expanding. Rutherford later asked Oliphant to work with him to further investigate Cockcroft and Walton's work. During this time, Oliphant discovered new types of hydrogen (deuterium and tritium) and helium (helium 3). He also designed and built particle accelerators, the most famous of these was a positive ion accelerator. All this work paved the way for the creation of nuclear weapons. Sir John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton made the first major breakthrough in 1932 when they split the atom for the first time, using their revolutionary high-powered particle accelerator. Sir James Chadwick then identified the third atomic particle, the neutron. Then in 1932, Patrick Blackett, identified electrons with...

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