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Charles Thomson Rees Wilson

Charles Thomson Rees Wilson

C.T.R Wilson at 1927 Solvay conference
BornFebruary 14 1869(1869-02-14)
Midlothian, Scotland
DiedNovember 15 1959 (aged 90)
Edinburgh, Scotland
NationalityUnited Kingdom
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
Alma materUniversity of Manchester
University of Cambridge
Notable students  Cecil Frank Powell
Known forCloud chamber
Notable prizes Nobel Prize in Physics 1927

Charles Thomson Rees Wilson CH (February 14, 1869 – November 15, 1959) was a Scottish physicist.

He was born in the parish of Glencorse, Midlothian to a farmer, John Wilson, and his mother Annie Clerk Harper. After his father died in 1873, his family moved to Manchester. He was educated at Owen's College, studying biology with the intent to become a physician. He then went to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge where he became interested in physics and chemistry.

He thereafter became particularly interested in meteorology, and in 1893 he began to study clouds and their properties. He worked for some time at the observatory on Ben Nevis, where he made observations of cloud formation. He then tried to reproduce this effect on a smaller scale in the laboratory in Cambridge, expanding humid air within a sealed container. He later experimented with the creation of cloud trails in his chamber caused by ions and radiation. For the invention of the cloud chamber he received the Nobel Prize in 1927.

He married Jessie Fraser in 1908, the daughter of a minister from Glasgow, and the couple had four children. He died near Edinburgh, surrounded by his family.

The Wilson crater on the Moon is co-named for him, Alexander Wilson and Ralph Elmer Wilson.

The Wilson Society, the natural sciences society of Sidney Sussex College, is also named for him.


  • Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, Isaac Asimov, 2nd ed., Doubleday & C., Inc., ISBN 0-385-17771-2.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Charles_Thomson_Rees_Wilson". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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