Charles Thomson Rees Wilson CH
– November 15
) was a Scottish physicist
who received the Nobel Prize
for his invention of the cloud chamber
He was born in the parish
of Glencorse, Midlothian
to a farmer, John Wilson, and his mother Annie Clerk Harper. After his father died in 1873, his family moved to Manchester
. He was educated at Owen's College
, studying biology
with the intent to become a physician
. He then went to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
where he became interested in physics
He thereafter became particularly interested in meteorology, and in 1893 he began to study clouds and their properties. He worked for some time at the observatory on Ben Nevis, where he made observations of cloud formation. He then tried to reproduce this effect on a smaller scale in the laboratory in Cambridge, expanding humid air within a sealed container. He later experimented with the creation of cloud trails in his chamber caused by ions and radiation. For the invention of the cloud chamber he received the Nobel Prize in 1927.
He married Jessie Fraser in 1908, the daughter of a minister from Glasgow, and the couple had four children. He died near Edinburgh, surrounded by his family.
The Wilson crater on the Moon is co-named for him, Alexander Wilson and Ralph Elmer Wilson.
The Wilson Society, the natural sciences society of Sidney Sussex College, is also named for him.
The archives of Charles Thomson Rees Wilson are maintained by the Archives of the University of Glasgow (GUAS)
- Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, Isaac Asimov, 2nd ed., Doubleday & C., Inc., ISBN 0-385-17771-2.