Owen Willans Richardson

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Richardson, Owen Willans


Born Apr. 26, 1879, in Dewsbury, Yorkshire; died Feb. 15, 1959, in Alton, Hampshire. English physicist. Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1913).

Richardson graduated from Cambridge University in 1900. From 1900 to 1906 he was on the staff of the Cavendish Laboratory, and from 1906 to 1913 he was a professor at Princeton University. In 1914, Richardson became affiliated with the University of London. He was a professor there from 1914 to 1924 and director of research in physics from 1924 to 1944, in which year he became emeritus professor.

Richardson’s most important works dealt with thermionic emission. In 1901, Richardson discovered the dependence of thermionic current density on the temperature of the surface of the metal. The equation describing this relationship is now known as the Richardson equation. Richardson’s other areas of research included the photoelectric effect, the emission of electrons under the action of chemical agents, magnetism, quantum theory, spectroscopy, and the physics of X rays.

Richardson received a Nobel Prize in 1928.


The Electron Theory of Matter, 2nd ed. Cambridge, 1916.
The Emission of Electricity from Hot Bodies, 2nd ed. London-New York, 1921.
Molecular Hydrogen and Its Spectrum. New Haven-London, 1934.


Wilson, W. “Owen Willans Richardson (1879–1959).” Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, 1959, vol. 5, pp. 207–15. (Contains bibliography.)
References in periodicals archive ?
Three masked thugs rushed in behind the accomplice, with Owen Richardson swinging a hammer at the employee before stamping on him behind the counter.
Caylan Holliday and Owen Richardson of Aiki Kickboxing in Ryton won a hatful of medals at the World Championships in Spain.
Owen Richardson is only 11 but is already making a name for himself in the sport and is set to take part in the international competition to be held in Italy in October.
Others, like 22-year- old Owen Richardson, from Daventry, use their machines as a weekend toy, enjoying a run out on the ''twisty-turny'' roads into Stratford.
Youngsters Caylan Holliday, eight, and Owen Richardson, 12, travelled to the Costa Blanca resort of Benidorm for the Unified World Championship.
Youngsters Caylan Holliday, eight, and Owen Richardson, 12, have travelled to the Costa Blanca resort of Benidorm for the Unified World Championships, which starts tomorrow.
Ryton kickboxers Owen Richardson, (left) Caylan Holliday and Scott Emmerson who are in World Championship action this week
Owen Richardson, of Prudhoe, trained for 18 months and competed against black belts during a four-day competition.
Gaz Beadle has donated PS3,000 which will pay for 11-year-old Owen Richardson to compete in the World Kick Boxing Championships, in Tuscany, this October.
Liam Martin ENTERTAINMENT: Geordie Shore's Gaz Beadle has offered to help 11-year-old kick boxing prodigy Owen Richardson who needs PS3,000 to compete in the kickboxing world championships.
Kick boxer Owen Richardson, 11, training at Delta Fitness with his coach Scott Emmerson
Wayne Eastway and Rob Eastway celebrated doubles in Bedlington's 6-0 success at Monkseaton Arms Athletic, Scott Marshal and Owen Richardson also netting, while Rockcliffe beat New Delaval and Newsham 6-1.