- Wilson , Charles Thomson Rees
- (1869–1959) British physicistCharles Wilson was the son of a sheep farmer from Glencorse in Scotland, but his father died when he was four and Charles and his mother moved to Manchester. He was educated there and started to specialize in biology but moved to Cambridge University to study physics. There he started work with J.J. Thomson.Wilson began experiments to duplicate cloud formation in the laboratory by letting saturated air expand, thus cooling it. He found that clouds seemed to need dust particles to start the formation of water droplets and that x-rays, which charged the dust, greatly speeded up the process. Inspired by this, he showed that charged subatomic particles traveling through supersaturated air also formed water droplets. This was the basis of the cloud chamber, which Wilson perfected in 1911 and for which he received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1927. The cloud chamber became an indispensable aid to research into subatomic particles and, with the addition of a magnetic field, made different particles distinguishable by the curvature of their tracks.
Scientists. Academic. 2011.