Wilson, Charles Thomson Rees

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Wilson, Charles Thomson Rees,

1869–1959, Scottish physicist, educated at Manchester and Cambridge universities. He was Jacksonian professor of natural philosophy at Cambridge from 1925 to 1934. Noted for his studies of atmospheric electricity, he devised a method for the protection of barrage balloons from lightning during World War II. He invented the Wilson cloud chamber for studying the activity of ionized particles. For this invention he shared with A. C. Compton, a U.S. physicist, the 1927 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Wilson, Charles Thomson Rees


Born Feb. 14, 1869, in Glencorse; died Nov. 15, 1959, in Edinburgh. British physicist. Member of the British Royal Society (1900).

Wilson was educated at Manchester and Cambridge universities. From 1900 to 1934 he taught at Cambridge University (as a professor from 1925). He studied the condensation of water vapor under the influence of various agents, in particular, fast-moving charged particles. This work led him in 1912 to the invention of a device that made it possible to observe the tracks of microparticles (theLWilson cloud chamber). Wilson was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1927.


“Condensation of Water Vapour in the Presence of Dust-free Air and Other Gases.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 1897.
“The Condensation Method of Demonstrating the Ionisation of Air Under Normal Conditions.” Philosophical Magazine, 1904, vol. 7.
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