Contact information
Media Relations team
Tеl: +44 (0)161 275 8258
Email:

11
December
2015

Plaque unveiled for Nobel laureate Sir Lawrence Bragg

  • Plaque unveiled 100 years to the day he should have received the Nobel Prize for Physics
  • Bragg wasn't officially awarded the prize until September 1922 , due to World War I
  • The plaque will be permanently placed on Coupland Street
bragg-colour.jpg

The University has unveiled a plaque in honour of Nobel laureate Sir Lawrence Bragg, 100 years to the day he should have received the Nobel Prize for Physics.

It wasn’t until September 1922 that Bragg was officially awarded the prize, due to World War I. Sir Lawrence and his father, Sir William Bragg, were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays. Aged 25 at the time, Bragg remains the youngest ever Nobel Laureate in physics.

They showed first that the phenomenon can be simply understood in terms of the reflection of X-ray waves by planes of atoms in the crystals (according to Bragg's law) and, second, that the observed effects are capable of revealing the detailed arrangements of the atoms in the crystals.

This opened the way to the detailed study of the wave nature of X-rays and began the X-ray analysis of crystal structures that has since revealed the arrangement of the atoms in all kinds of substances from the chemical elements to viruses.

Sir Lawrence did that work before he came to Manchester, but he started at Manchester in 1919 as the Langworthy Chair.

 

During his time at the University and throughout his career, Sir Lawrence made an astonishing contribution to science. His legacy to our world lives on.
Professor Steve Watts, Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy

The plaque was unveiled by William Heath, one of Sir Lawrence’s grandchildren, watched by several members of the family and University staff and students. It will be permanently placed on Coupland Street on the building that is now the Martin Harris Centre – previously part of the Physics department during Sir Lawrence’s time at the University

At an afternoon event, Sir Lawrence’s oldest grandson Nigel Bragg shared some personal recollections before Sir Kostya Novoselov, fellow Nobel Prize winner and Langworthy Chair, delivered the inaugural Sir Lawrence Bragg Lecture.

Professor Steve Watts, Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy, said: “During his time at the University and throughout his career, Sir Lawrence made an astonishing contribution to science. His legacy to our world lives on.

“But he was more than a great mind. He made a difference to many lives through his teaching, mentoring and support for research and his own recently published thoughts on his life and career reveal his other roles as a husband, father and friend.”

Share this release
Latest news