Happy birthday, Sir James Chadwick

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On Thursday 20th October the University of Liverpool celebrates the 125th birthday of one of its most illustrious members, Sir James Chadwick.

By Los Alamos National Laboratory - Los Alamos National Laboratory, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36283260

Chadwick, who was born in 1891 and discovered the neutron in 1932, became a professor of physics at the University of Liverpool in 1935, the same year he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Chadwick earned his PhD in 1921 under the supervision of Ernest Rutherford at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. He worked as Rutherford's assistant director of research for over a decade at the Cavendish Laboratory, where he made the famous breakthrough. Chadwick followed the discovery of the neutron by measuring its mass, and anticipated that neutrons would become a major weapon in the fight against cancer.

After taking his position in the Department of Physics at the University of Liverpool, Chadwick overhauled an antiquated laboratory and, by installing a cyclotron, made it an important centre for the study of nuclear physics. Therefore, the current status of the University of Liverpool as one of the world’s leading institutions in nuclear, particle, and accelerator physics draws directly from Chadwick’s work.

Likewise, the university’s position as an international hub for the training of accelerator experts, through coordinating international research and training networks, such as oPAC, LA3NET, OMA and the brand-new AVA, can be said to be part of Chadwick’s legacy.