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Celebrity Drawings by John Moss

Science & Discovery in Greater Manchester

Leigh Mallory

George Leigh Mallory, Mountaineer

When in March 1923, in an interview with The New York Times
, the British mountaineer George Mallory was asked why he wanted
to climb Mount Everest, and replied with his now famous response:
‘Because it’s there’. He could have had no notion that he and
fellow-climber Andrew Irvine, would die on the mountain the
following year. George Leigh Mallory was born on 18 June 1886
in Mobberley, Cheshire, the son of a clergyman, and one of four
children Mary, George, Victoria and Trafford (who later became
Sir Trafford Leigh Mallory,
Air Vice-Marshall in the Royal Air Force). Mallory went to preparatory
school in West Kirby, and boarding school in Eastbourne in 1896.
At the age of 14, George won a mathematics scholarship to Winchester
College and soon developed a passion for climbing in the Alps.
After Winchester he went to Cambridge where he captained the
Magdalene College rowing eight in the 1909 season. Here he became
associated with the Bloomsbury group and met the likes of Rupert
Brooke, H G Wells, James and Lytton Strachey, and Maynard and
Geoffrey Keynes. Mallory graduated from Cambridge in 1909 and
spent the following summer walking in the Lake
accompanied by his former tutor, Arthur Benson.
By 1913 Mallory was teaching at Charterhouse
School, near Godalming, and in July 1914 he was married to Ruth
Turner. In August 1914, at the outbreak of war, Mallory enlisted
to serve on the Western Front in France, but was soon invalided
home. After the war he was a lecturer in Cambridge University’s
Extra-Mural Department. But mountaineering was clearly his first
love and he took part in three attempts to climb Mount Everest
in the Himalayas in 1924, and was leader in the fatal Everest
expedition of that year. During this climb, he and his partner,
Sandy Irvine, were lost, and never seen alive again. It was
not until 1999, when American climber Conrad Anker found Mallory’s
frozen body on the mountain at 26,760 feet. It’s clothes were
in tatters, but the label was clearly marked with Mallory’s
name; the whereabouts of Irvine’s body, however, has not yet
been discovered.
The discovery has reopened the debate as to whether or not Mallory
or Irvine had ever reached the summit of Everest, or could be
said to be the first to reach its peak – that distinction still
rests officially with the June 1953 expedition led by Sir John
Hunt and the ascent made by Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Norkay

Sir Joseph John Thomson

Sir JJ Thomson

Joseph John Thomson (later known simply as ‘JJ’) was one of
the nation’s leading physicists and is principally remembered
for the discovery of the electron and for his work on gaseous
exchanges. Born in
on the 18th December 1856 of a father (Joseph James
Thomson), who was an antiquarian bookseller and publisher and
his mother Emma Thomson of the Vernon family who owned a local
cotton spinning company. Thomson enrolled at Owens College in
Manchester in 1871 (now the University of Manchester) to read
engineering, mathematics, physics and chemistry.
In 1876 won a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge from
where he graduated in 1880. Remaining to carry out research
at Cambridge he was made a Fellow of Trinity in 1880 and began
experimental work at the Cavendish Laboratory under Lord Rayleigh
Thomson was appointed a Lecturer at Trinity College in 1883
and in 1884 he succeeded Lord Rayleigh as Professor of Experimental
Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory. In 1884 Thomson was elected
a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1890 he married Rose Paget,
daughter of Sir George Paget, Regius Professor of Physic at
Cambridge. His work began to attract many brilliant young men
including Rutherford, Townsend
and McClelland. His work on electric discharge through gases
was groundbreaking, but it was his discovery of the electron
in 1897 for which he is best known. This discovery opened up
the field of subatomic physics to experimental investigation.
In 1905 Thomson worked on cathode rays and in 1912 his team
discovered isotopes of neon, the first non-radioactive isotopes
to be identified.
During the World War I he was advisor
an important government adviser and a member of the Board of
Invention and Research, which had been set up in 1915 by Arthur
Balfour, then First Lord of the Admiralty. He received many
prestigious awards for his work, including several Royal Society
medals (in 1894, 1902, 1914 and 1915), and was President of
the Society from 1915 to 1920. In 1906 he was awarded the Nobel
Prize for Physics, was knighted in 1908 and awarded the Order
of Merit in 1912. He was also made honorary member of the Royal
Society of Medicine in 1919, as well as other honours from the
Franklin Institute, Philadelphia in 1922 and the Institution
of Civil Engineers in 1925. He was also made President of the
Junior Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1910 and Honorary
Professor of Physics at the Royal Institution. Amongst his many
honorary degrees were those from Oxford, Göttingen, Oslo,
Dublin, St Andrews, Athens and Baltimore.
Thomson had two children, George Paget Thomson, (who was himself
awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1937) and Joan Paget
Thomson. J.J.Thomson died on the 30th August 1940

Sir Arnold Wolfendale

Sir Arnold Wolfendale, Astronomer Royal

(Born 1927)
Arnold Wolfendale, born in Flixton, (now in the Borough of Trafford)
on 25th June 1927, the son of Arnold and Doris Wolfendale. Studying
at the the University of Manchester he was awarded a First Class
Honours BSc degree in Physics in 1948 was followed by a PhD
in 1953. In 1951 he married Audrey Darby, and they have twin
sons. In 1956 he began work with the Home Office, and was associated
with that department until 1984, working in areas of Civil Defence
and later as a Scientific adviser. He was elected a Fellow of
the Royal Astronomical Society in 1973 and of the Royal Society
in 1977.
Sir Arnold’s career has included lecturing posts at the Universities
of Manchester, Durham, Ceylon and Hong Kong. He was head of
department at Durham University, where he has spent the most
part of his professional life and from where he has published
on a range of topics including cosmic rays and their origin,
gamma rays, solar and geomagnetic variation and cosmology. He
retired from teaching in 1992 and was knighted in 1995.

From 1991 to 1995 he was 14th Astronomer
Royal and worked on promoting astronomy and campaigning for
better funding for all the sciences.
Since 1996 he has been Professor of Experimental Physics with
the Royal Institution of Great Britain. He has given lectures
in many countries and in many places, and has had several books
published on the subject of cosmic rays and astrophysics. He
is Emeritus professor of physics at the University of Durham,
where he currently lives

Professor Dr Brian Cox OBE

Professor Dr Brian Cox

(Born 1968)
Brian Edward Cox was born on 3 March 1968 in Oldham. A celebrated
particle physicist, a Royal Society University Research Fellow
and a professor at the University of Manchester. He is a member
of the High Energy Physics group at the University of Manchester,
and works on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider,
Cern, near Geneva, Switzerland.
In 1989 Cox was a member of the rock band Dare , fronted by
former Thin Lizzy member Darren Wharton. He was educated in
Hulme Grammar School in Oldham, and went on to study physics
at the University of Manchester where in 1993, while still studying,
he joined the band D:Ream , who had several hits in the UK charts,
including the number one, “Things Can Only Get Better”
, later used as a New Labour election anthem in 1997. D:Ream
disbanded in 1997, and the next year Cox was awarded his PhD
degree in high energy particle physics at the University of
Manchester, where he had previously gained a first class honours
degree in physics
He is probably best known to the public,
however, as the presenter of a number of science programmes
for BBC television. Other television appearances have included
“Einstein’s Shadow”, “The Six Billion Dollar
Experiment”, “What On Earth Is Wrong With Gravity,”
“Do You Know What Time It Is?” and “Can We Make
a Star on Earth?” . He has also provided voice-overs on
the BBC’s “Bitesize” revision programs. Cox was the
science advisor for the sci-fi film “Sunshine” and
was featured on the Discovery Channel special “Megaworld:
Switzerland” . In March and April 2010 Cox presented a
five part BBC television series entitled “Wonders of the
Solar System” . He also co-presents “Space Hoppers”
on CBBC. For services to science he was appointed Officer of
the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2010 Birthday
Honours. Several television series specialising in science and
astronomy have followed.

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This page last updated 21 Jan 12.