Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Arthur Holly Compton was born in Wooster, Ohio in 1892 to Elias and Otelia Compton . They were an academic family; his father Elias Compton was president of a local college. His eldest brother Karl T. Compton also became a physicist, and later president of MIT; his second brother Wilson M. Compton became a diplomat and president of Washington State University.
In 1918, Compton began studying X-ray scattering. In 1922, Compton found that X-rays wavelength increases due to scattering of the radiant energy by "free electrons ". Scattered quanta have less energy than the quanta of the original ray. This observation furthers the "particle" concept of electromagnetic radiation. Compton developed the method for observing at the same instant individual scattered X-ray photons and the recoil electrons (developed with Alfred W. Simon ). In Germany, Walther Bothe and Hans Geiger independently form a similar method.
In 1941, along with Vannevar Bush, head of the wartime Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), and Ernest Lawrence, the Berkeley inventor of the cyclotron, he helped to take over the then-stagnant American program to develop an atomic bomb. Compton was placed in charge of the OSRD's S-1 Committee charged with investigating the properties and manufacture of uranium.
During the early years of World War II, Compton became involved with research into nuclear fission at the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago. In December 1942, underneath Chicago's Stagg Field , Enrico Fermi achieved a sustained chain reaction in the world's first nuclear reactor with the help of Compton's Metallurgical Laboratory. Throughout the war, Compton would remain a prominent scientific advisor and administrator.
Compton is buried in the Wooster Cemetery in Wooster, Ohio.
- Schools : Princeton University, University of Chicago, Washington University in St. Louis
- Physics Timeline mechanics and physics
- Energy : Luminiferous aether, Radiant energy, Manhattan Project (Atomic energy)
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