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Physicists and astronomers


Bacon, Roger 1214-1294
He first mentioned the preparation of gunpowder in a book published in 1248 or 1249. However it was probably discovered by the Chinese. He lectured in Paris but returned to England where he became a Franciscan friar. Pioneer in optics.

Bainbridge, Kenneth Tompkins 1904-1996
American physicist. Born in New York. Development of the mass spectrometer.

Baird, John Logie 1888-1946
Scottish inventor. Developed the television (1926).

Balmer, Johann Jacob 1825-1898
A Swiss school teacher, he devised a formula to predict the wavelengths of a series of lines in the spectrum of hydrogen

Becquerel, Antoine Henri 1852-1909
French physicist. He investigated fluorescence crystals to see if they produced X rays and this led to his early work on radioactivity. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1903 for discovering radioactivity. Study of phosphorescence.

Bell, Alexander Graham 1847-1922
British engineer. Patented the telephone in 1876.

Bell-Burnell, Jocelyn 1943-
British astronomer. Pulsars

Bernoulli, Daniel 1700-1782
A Swiss mathematician who explained much of the theory of Fluid flow. Proposed some of the basic ideas of the kinetic theory of gases (1738).

Bethe, Hans Albrecht 1906-2005
German physicist. Fundamental work on the energy production in stars. Nobel Prize for this work in 1967.

Black, Joseph 1728-1799
British chemist and physicist. Fluid theory of heat. Worked on the idea of specific heat capacity. Introduced the distinction between temperature and the 'quantity of heat'.

Blackett, Patrick M.S. 1897- 1974
British Physicist. Studied cosmic radiation. First to photograph a nuclear transmutation. Discovered the positron independently of Anderson.

Bohr, Niels 1885-1962
Theory of the atom. Energy level structure. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for this work in 1922. Explained the process of nuclear fission.

Boltzmann, Ludwig 1844-1906
Austrian physicist. Developed statistical mechanics and applied it to the kinetic theory of gases and thermodynamics. Boltzmann's constant. Distribution of molecular speeds in a gas.

Bose, Satyendra Nath 1894-1974
Bengali physicist and mathematician. In his work on quantum mechanics he laid the foundation for the development of Bose-Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose-Einstein condensate. Published papers on the electromagnetic properties of the ionosphere, X ray crystallography, thermoluminescence and unified field theory.

Boyle, Robert 1627-1691
Irish scientist and philosopher. Proved that air has weight. Study of the behaviour of gases. Boyle's Law published 1663.

Boys, Sir Charles Vernon 1855-1944
British physicist. Laboratory measurement of the Universal Constant of Gravitation

Bradley, James 1693-1762
British astronomer. Used the aberration of starlight to estimate the speed of light in 1728. Discovered the wobbling of the Earth's axis (nutation).

Bragg, Sir William Henry 1862-1942
British physicist. With his son (Sir Lawrence) he developed the X ray spectrometer and worked on crystal structure.

Bramah, Joseph 1749-1814
British engineer. Invented the hydraulic press

Brewster, Sir David 1781-1868
British physicist. Worked on optics, especially polarisation. Brewster's Law.

Bunsen, Robert Wilhelm 1811-1899
Professor at Heidelberg University for thirty seven years. Collaborated with Kirchoff to develop spectrum analysis. He discovered rubidium and caesium. Invented the Bunsen burner, grease spot photometer and the filter pump.
© Keith Gibbs 2016