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William Henry Bragg and The University of Adelaide

W.H. Bragg was a British physicist, chemist and mathematician who shared, with his son William Lawrence Bragg, the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics for their services in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-ray.

William Henry Bragg, London, 1909
In 1885 Bragg was appointed Elder Professor of Mathematics and Experimental Physics at the University of Adelaide having only recently graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge. When he commenced his appointment early in 1886, he was only 23 years of age.

In Adelaide Bragg matured as a teacher and a research scientist, married and had three children, and actively participated in many facets of University and community life.

From 1904 to 1908 he conducted a research programme whose fruits remain an enduring feature of science. In 1909 the Braggs left Adelaide to further their careers
in England.

The complete story of Bragg’s time in Adelaide can be found in John Jenkin’s The Bragg Family in Adelaide: A pictorial celebration.


1862 Born in Cumberland
1869 Moved to Market Harborough, Leicestershire
1875 King William's School on the Isle of Man
1881-1885 Trinity College, Cambridge – Student
1886-1908 University of Adelaide – Elder Professor of Mathematics and Experimental Physics
1889 Married Gwendoline Todd in Adelaide
1898 Study leave in Europe
1899 Successful experiments in wireless telegraphy
1904 President of section A of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science;researches into alpha particles
1907 Fellow of the Royal Society
1908 President of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science
1909-1915 University of Leeds – Cavendish chair of physics
1915 Nobel Prize for Physics (with son Lawrence)
1915-1923 University College London – Quain Professor of physics
1919 Knighthood
1923 Royal Institution: Fullerian Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Davy Faraday Research Laboratory
1942 Died in London
University Library

Barr Smith Library
South Australia 5005


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