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James Chadwick is not a household name Yet he made one of the most significant contributions to science ever He discovered the neutron and by doing so he allowed the modern world of science medicine and technology to become what they are today Without him the world might not have turned out the same Born to a middle class family in England Chadwick attended boarding school In 1907 while going to the university of Manchester James Chadwick accidentally found himself in the line for those hoping to major in physics Chadwick who wanted to be a mathematician was too shy to acknowledge his mistake and stayed in line In 1913 he received his masters degree and went to Germany to work with Hans Geiger While there Chadwick was the first person to show that beta particles have a range of energies The world was rapidly changing and Chadwick was trapped right in the middle of it all He became trapped in Germany during the start of World War I Chadwick was immediately imprisoned in a horse stall at a racetrack that served as an internment camp This was a terrible time in the world Many countries in Europe were against each other in a war while one of the smartest men ever was sitting locked up in a horse stall For Four years Chadwick was a prisoner of war in Germany When World War I ended he returned to his native England to rejoin the mentor of his undergraduate days Ernest Rutherford Now head of Cambridge Universitys nuclear physics lab Rutherford oversaw Chadwicks PhD in 1921 and then made him assistant director of the lab Brown 274 Chadwicks own research focused on radioactivity In 1919 Rutherford had discovered the proton a positively charged particle within the atoms nucleus But they and other researchers were finding that the proton did not seem to be the only particle in the nucleus As they studied atomic disintegration
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