Cockcroft, John Douglas

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cockcroft, John Douglas


Born May 27, 1897, in Todmorden; died Sept. 18,1967, in Cambridge. British physicist. Member of the Royal Society of London (1936).

Cockcroft studied at the universities in Manchester (1919–22) and Cambridge (1922–27). From 1928 to 1946 he was a fellow at Cambridge University, where he became a professor in 1939. From 1939 to 1944 he directed work on the development of radar air defense. He was director of the Anglo-Canadian atomic energy laboratory in Montreal (1944–46) and director of the Atomic Energy Research Center at Harwell (1946–58). Beginning in 1960 he was master of Churchill College at Cambridge.

In 1924, Cockcroft began working in the Cavendish Laboratory under E. Rutherford. Together with E. Walton he built the first proton accelerator and generated (1932) a nuclear reaction by exposing a lithium target to protons artificially accelerated to 700 MeV. He subsequently studied reactions arising from the action of charged particles on the nuclei of various elements. He was awarded a Nobel Prize (together with Walton) in 1951.


“Experiments With High Velocity Positive Ions.” Proceedings of the Royal Society, Ser. A, 1932, vol. 136, no. A830, p. 619; 1933, vol. 137, no. A831, p. 229. (With E. T. Walton.)


Penney. “Sir John Cockcroft.” Nature, 1967, vol. 216, no. 5115, p. 621.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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