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University of Manchester

The University of Manchester (in Manchester, England) began in 1851 as Owen's College (named after John Owens[?]), a textile merchant who left a bequest of £96,942 for the purpose.

It moved to its current location in 1873, and was granted its Royal Charter in 1880 - becoming the Victoria University.

In 1903, the University's colleges in Leeds and Liverpool became independent universities in their own right (the University of Leeds and the University of Liverpool), and the university became the Victoria University of Manchester.

It is now known as the "University of Manchester", and has over 18,000 full-time students (including 2500 international students from more than 120 countries). It is one of the top universities in the country, regularly getting top ratings for research and teaching.

On 5 March 2003 it was announced that the University is to merge with UMIST in the autumn of 2004, to form the largest university in Britain.

Table of contents

Manchester Science Hall of Fame

Physics ( an illustrated history )

1) Joseph John (J J) Thomson. Studied and researched 1871-76 (entered at age 14). Left and discovered the electron, awarded Nobel prize in 1906.

2) John Henry Poynting. Student 1867-72 (one of the very first students in the new Physical Laboratories) Lecturer 1876-79. Left to become Professor at Mason College (which became Birmingham University). He wrote on electrical phenomena and radiation and is best known for Poynting's vector. In 1891 he determined the mean density of the Earth and made a determination of the gravitational constant in 1893. The Poynting-Robertson effect was related to the theory of relativity.

3) Charles Thomson Rees (C T R) Wilson. Student 1884-87. Invented the expansion cloud chamber and was awarded Nobel prize 1927 .

4) Ernest Rutherford. Langworthy Professor of Physics 1907-1919. Nobel prize 1908, for his investigations into the disintegration of the elementsand and the chemistry of radioactive substances. He was the first man to split the atom. Science Jokes about Rutherford. Rutherford's publications.

5) James Chadwick. Student (BSc & MSc) and Researcher 1908-1913 (under Rotherford). Discovered neutron and awarded Nobel prize 1935 . ( Manhattan Project Hall of fame )

6) Hans Geiger, Researcher 1906-14. Did the original "Rutherford scattering" experiment with Marsden (also the Gerger-Marsden experiment ). Devised the famous Geiger ionisation counter.

7) Sir Ernest Marsden was norn in Lancashire in 1888. He won scholarships to attend grammar school and gain entry to Manchester University . It was here he met Rutherford in his honours year. Rutherford suggested a project to investigate the backwards scattering of alpha particles from a metal foil. He did this in conjunction with Hans Geiger, of Geiger counter fame, and it proved to be the key experiment in the demise of the plum pudding model of the atom leading directly to Rutherford?s nuclear atom. Rutherford also recommended Marsden for the position of physics professor at what is now Victoria University in Wellington.

8) Niels Bohr. Research Staff and Schuster Reader 1911-1916. Worked on structure of atom and first theory of quantum mechanics. Awarded Nobel prize in 1922 . Science Jokes about Niels Bohr.

9) W Lawrance Bragg. Director (Langworthy Professor of Physics) 1919-1937. Nobel prize for X-ray crystallography, shared with Dad, W Henry Bragg, in 1915. Their work led to the first discoveries of DNA and protein structures, which were made by Watson/Crick/Wilkins / Rosalin Franklin (DNA) and Kendrew/Perutz (protein) in Bragg's research group in Cambridge.

10) Nevill Francis Mott. Lecturer 1929-30. Awarded Nobel prize in 1977 , for his fundamental theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems"

11) Hans Bethe. Research staff and Temporary Lecturer 1932. Awarded Nobel prize in 1967, for his contributions to the theory of nuclear reactions, especially his discoveries concerning the energy production in stars. (Manhattan Project Hall of fame )

12) Douglas Hartree. Professor 1929-1946. Built and operated a differential analyser (a famous mechanical calculator) to evaluate the wave functions of multi-electron atoms.

13) Patrick M Blackett 1937-53. Director and Langworthy Professor of physics. Awarded Nobel prize for developing cloud chamber and confirming/discovering positron in 1948.

14) George D Rochester discovered strange particles in 1947 with Clifford C Butler. C C Butler co-discovered strange particles in 1947 . Went on to be head of dept at Imperial College and then VC at Loughborough.

15) A Wolfendale. Bsc 1948 and PhD 1954 in cosmic rays. Lecturer 1953-1956. 14th Astronomer Royal.

16) Sir Arthur Eddington. Graduated in 1902 and became a lecturer in 1905. Founder of modern Astronomy. He made important contributions to the general theory of relativity and led an expedition team to validate it. Science Jokes about Eddington. Books by Eddington.

17) Sir Bernard Lovell, Professor (1951-1990) and creator of the giant radio-telescope (the first large radio-telescope in the world with a diameter of 218 feet) at Jodrell Bank and pioneered the field of radio astronomy.

18) Arthur Schuster, Langworthy Professor of Physics (1888-1907), who made many contributions to optics and astronomy. Schuster?s interests were wide-ranging: terrestrial magnetism, optics, solar physics, and the mathematical theory of periodicities. He introduced meteorology as a subject studied in British universities.

19) Henry Moseley, who identified atomic number as the nuclear charges. He studied under Rutherford and brilliantly developed the application of X-ray spectra to study atomic structure; his discoveries resulted in a more accurate positioning of elements in the Periodic Table by closer determination of atomic numbers . Moseley was nominated for the 1915 Nobel Prize but was unfortunately killed in action in August 1915 and could not receive the prize.

20) George de Hevesy, Research Staff 1910-1913, who won the Nobel prize in 1943 for his work on the use of isotopes as tracers in the study of chemical processes.

21) Sir John Douglas Cockcroft, studied mathematics under Horace Lamb in 1914-1915, and received BSc and MSc in EE in the Tech (UMIST), won the Nobel prize in physics in 1951 for his pioneering work on the transmutation of atomic nuclei by artificially accelerated atomic particles. Chancellor of UMIST. and Director of BAERE ( Manhattan Project Hall of fame ).

22) Sir John Lennard-Jones, entered Manchester University where he changed his subject to mathematics in 1912. After First World War service in the Royal Flying Corps, he returned to Manchester as Lecturer in Mathematics, 1919-1922. Founder of modern theoretical chemistry. Lennard-Jones potential and LJ fluid ( An Java Applet ) are named after him.

23) In 1917, Charles Barkla , an early Physics graduate of the University College of the Victoria University was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his discovery of the characteristic X-ray radiation of the elements.

Physiology and Medicine

Archibald Vivian Hill , Brackenburg Professor of Physiology, 1920-1923. won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1922 for his discovery relating to the production of heat in the muscle.


Nobel Prize Winners from Manchester Chemistry (Dates of awards in blackets)

  1. Arthur Harden (awarded nobel prize in 1929), for investigations on the fermentation of sugar and fermentative enzymes;
  2. Walter Howarth (awarded nobel prize in 1937), for his investigations on carbohydrates and vitamin C;
  3. Robert Robinson (awrded nobel prize in 1947), for his investigations on plant products of biological importance, especially the alkaloids;
  4. Alexander Todd (awarded nobel prize in 1957), for his work on nucleotides and nucleotide co-enzymes.;
  5. Melvin Calvin ( awarded nobel prize in 1961), for his research on the carbon dioxide assimilation in plants;
  6. John Charles Polanyi (awarded nobel prize in 1986), for his contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes;
  7. Michael Smith (awarded nobel prize in 1993), for his fundamental contributions to the establishment of oligonucleiotide-based, site-directed mutagenesis and its development for protein studies.


1) Sir Arthur Lewis (1979) for his pioneering research into economic development research with particular consideration of the problems of developing countries. 2) John Hicks (1974) for his pioneering contributions to general economic equilibrium theory and welfare theory.

Computer Science & Mathematics

1) Alan Turing , founder of computer science and AI . ACM Turing award is named after him .

2) Paul Erdös , was the greatest mathematician of 20th century or the Euler of our time, who posed and solved thorny problems in number theory and other areas and founded the field of discrete mathematics, which is the foundation of computer science. He was also one of the most prolific mathematicians in history, with more than 1,500 papers to his name (Leonhard Euler was second in the list) ( list of publications ) . In his early career, he held a post-doctoral fellowship at Man U and subsequently became a wandering mathematician. With no job, no home and his few clothes in an orange carrier bag, he would arrive at colleagues' houses, declare 'My brain is open' and stay. Awarded the Cole Prize by AMS. Science jokes about Paul Erdos .

3) James Lighthill , was one of the most influential applied mathematicians of the 20th century. He made important contributions to the modern developments in theoretical aerodynamics and aeroacoustics (Lighthill's eighth power law) and was one of the founding fathers of the field of biofluiddynamics. He is also founder of IMA.

4) Osborne Reynolds is famous for his work in fluid mechanics. In 1886 he formulated a theory of lubrication and three years later he developed the standard mathematical framework used in the study of turbulence. The 'Reynolds number' used in modelling fluid flow is named after him (his students include JJ Thomson, who discovered electron).

5) Ludwig Wittgenstein who is best known for his work in philosophy undertook aeronautical research in Manchester. Needing to understand more mathematics for his research he began a study which soon involved him in the foundations of mathematics.

6) Louis Mordell a pure mathematician who made important contributions in number theory.

7) Sydney Goldstein was one of the most influential theoretical fluid mechanicians in this century. He is best known for his work in boundary layer theory where the `Goldstein singularity' is named after him.

8) Lewis Richardson was a scientist who was the first to apply mathematics, in particular the method of finite differences, to predicting the weather (the father of CFD). He made contributions to calculus and to the theory of diffusion, in particular eddy-diffusion in the atmosphere. The 'Richardson number', a fundamental quantity involving gradients of temperature and wind velocity is named after him.

9) Sir Horace Lamb was one of the six professors appointed when Manchester University received its Royal Charter (his chair was in Mathematics, and Osborne Reynolds was given the Chair in Engineering). He made many important contributions to applied mathematics, including the areas of acoustics and fluid dynamics. His book `Hydrodynamics' (first published in 1895) was for many years the standard text on the subject and is still essential reading for serious researchers in fluid mechanics. It could be said that Lamb's main field of research was solid mechanics, and he made careful studies of the vibrations of spherical bodies which aided understanding in seismology. Research on waves in layered media led to the discovery of `Lamb Waves'.

10) Bernhard Neumann spent more than a decade in Manchester. He is one of the leading figures in group theory and has influenced the direction of the subject in numerous ways.

11) Max Newman made many important contributions to combinatorial topology, Boolean algebras and mathematical logic. He directed the famous Colossus code-breaking operation in the war.

12) John Littlewood is famous for his work on the theory of series, the Riemann zeta function, inequalities and the theory of functions. He held a lectureship at the University of Manchester from 1907 to 1910.

13) Harold Davenport is another distinguished number theorist who worked in Manchester as a contemporary of Paul Erdös and Louis Mordell.

14) Kurt Mahler spent several periods of his academic life at Manchester. Major themes of his work were p-adic numbers, p-adic diophantine approximation, geometry of numbers (a term coined by Minkowski to describe the mathematics of packings and coverings) and measure on polynomials.

15) Frank Adams was a leading figure in algebraic topology and homotopy theory. He developed methods which led to important advances in calculating the homotopy groups of spheres (a problem which is still unsolved), including the invention of the 'Adams operations' which are now finding application in other areas of pure mathematics.

16) Brian Hartley is best known for his work in group theory. His book Rings, modules and linear algebra (written with T O Hawkes) is a widely used undergraduate text.

17) Tom Kilburn and F.C. Williams, invented the Williams-Kilburn Tube and the first modern electronic computer in the world(the Manchester Mark 1).

18) Sydney Chapman , developed important theory on thermal diffusion in highly ionised gases, magnetic storms, instability along magnetic neutral lines, noctilucent clouds and the fundamentals of gas dynamics

19) Edward Milne , a leading figure in the study of radiative equilibrium, the structure of stellar atmospheres, theory of relativity and the structure of stars. President of London Maths Society.

See also: http://www.man.ac.uk/

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