October - 80 years ago; 100 years ago; 100 years ago; 125 years ago

80 years ago

Whilst working at Cambridge University, UK, under Lord Rutherford, Edmund C Stoner published his key paper entitled ’The distribution of electrons among atomic levels’ in Philosophical Magazine. Stoner’s work was encapsulated in Wolfgang Pauli’s quantum mechanical exclusion principle for which Pauli received the Nobel prize in physics.

Otto Frisch was born in Austria. Whilst working in Birmingham, UK, Frisch and Rudolf Peierls demonstrated that the fissioning of uranium had the potential for development of an extremely destructive weapon. In 1943 Frisch was naturalised as a British citizen and was therefore able to work on the Manhattan project.

Charles John Pedersen was born in Korea. Whilst working for Du Pont in America, Pedersen discovered the first crown ether, dibenzo18-crown-6. These are compounds that mimic the complicated actions of biological materials such as enzymes and also have many potential pharmaceutical uses.He was awarded the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1987 for his work on crown ethers.

Birth of Max von Laue in Germany. Laue’s discovery of the diffraction of x-rays on crystals established the fact that x-rays were electromagnetic in nature. This work, for which he won a Nobel prize, paved the way for the use of x-rays to determine the structure of crystals and complex molecules.

Sallie Robins