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Arthur Compton was a Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his discovery of the Compton Effect. This discovery was one of the turning points that led to a better understanding of the properties of light and objects.
See the fact file below for more information on the Arthur Compton or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Arthur Compton worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Arthur Holly Compton was born on September 10, 1892, in Wooster, Ohio.
- Arthur got his first telescope when he was 12 years old. Although not very powerful, he was able to see Saturn through it.
- At age 14, Compton started studying at Wooster Preparatory School.
- In 1907, he became fascinated with powered flights upon reading the Wright Brothers’ tale. He started building aircraft models that he designed himself and made models as large as himself using paper and wooden frames.
- In 1909, he was able to fly a glider that he built with less than $35, earned by doing errands for neighbors.
- Arthur learned so much about aviation with this flight, but he stopped because his parents were worried he would end up dying while flying the glider.
- At age 16, he sent a letter discussing airplanes to the Scientific American. This was later on published into two papers: Fly and Aeronautics.
- In 1910, he captured a photo of Halley’s Comet using his homemade camera.
- Arthur decided to enroll at the University of Wooster, and in 1913, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree.
- He then entered Princeton University and received his Master of Arts degree in the following year.
- He then received his PhD in 1916 with his dissertation entitled The Intensity of X-Ray Reflection, and the Distribution of the Electrons in Atoms.
- Arthur worked as a research engineer at the Westinghouse Lamp Company in Pittsburgh.
- Compton also developed aircraft instrumentation during WWI.
- In 1919, he received a fellowship from the National Research Council, allowing him to study abroad. He decided to go to the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, England.
- Compton also worked with George Thomson and studied the absorption and scattering of gamma rays.
- In 1922, he discovered what is now known as the Compton Effect.
- Arthur found that X-ray quanta have longer wavelengths when scattered by free electrons. The scattered X-rays possess lesser energy than the original beam due to the transfer of energy into the electrons.
- This discovery illustrated the particle behavior of electromagnetic radiation.
- In 1923, Compton put out the Physical Review, where he explained the X-ray shift by assigning particle-like momentum to photons.
- Arthur also included in his paper a mathematical equation to present the relationship between the wavelength shift and the scattering angle of the X-rays. The article also contains reports on the results of his experiments, verifying this relation.
- Compton later worked with Alfred W. Simon to develop a method to observe the appearance of scattered X-ray photons and recoil electrons at the same instant.
- Arthur Compton was later on awarded the 1927 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the Compton Effect.
- He became a Professor of Physics when he moved to the University of Chicago in 1923.
- Arthur also used X-rays to study ferromagnetism. He later concluded that ferromagnetism is caused by the alignment of electron spins.
- General Electric hired him in 1926 to be a consultant in their Lamp Department.
- Arthur also discovered the occurrence of X-rays’ total reflection and complete polarization. This made it easier to more accurately determine the electron number of an atom.
- Compton was also interested in cosmic rays. He led a global study of the influence of geographic variations to the intensity of cosmic rays.
- He traveled to Australia, Europe, Mexico, India, and Peru to measure cosmic rays at varying latitudes and altitudes.
- In 1932, Compton and Luis Alvarez also made an array of Geiger counters for their cosmic rays study.
- Compton later discovered that the intensity was linked to geomagnetic latitude.
- Compton was appointed as the chairman of a special committee in the National Academy of Sciences Committee and played an essential role in the development of nuclear weapons. The committee’s findings led to the creation of the first controlled uranium fission reactors.
- Compton was given the Medal of Merit for his work during the war.
PERSONAL LIFE, DEATH, AND LEGACY
- Arthur married his former Wooster classmate, Betty Charity McCloskey, in 1916.
- The couple had two sons: Arthur Allen and John Joseph. Arthur Allen worked for the American Foreign Service, and John Joseph became a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Vanderbilt.
- He died due to cerebral hemorrhage in Berkeley, California, on March 15, 1962. He is buried in Wooster Cemetery in Ohio.
- The awards and honors he received include:
- The Rumford Gold Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1927)
- Gold Medal from the Radiological Society of North America (1928)
Matteucci Gold Medal (1930)
- Royal Society’s Hughes Medal (1940)
- Franklin Medal from the Franklin Institute (1940)
- The moon’s Compton crater is named after Arthur and his brother Karl.
- Washington University’s research building is named in honor of him.
- The top fellowship of the university given to undergraduates studying physics, math, or planetary science is also named after him.
- The University of Chicago also dedicated the Arthur H. Compton House in the university’s residence hall to honor Compton and his achievements.
- A star dedicated to Compton can also be seen on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
- NASA also named their Gamma Ray Observatory in honor of Arthur Compton. The observatory applies the Compton effect into the instruments used to detect gamma rays.
Arthur Compton Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Arthur Compton across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Arthur Compton worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Arthur Compton who was a Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his discovery of the Compton Effect. This discovery was one of the turning points that led to a better understanding of the properties of light and objects.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- A Physicist’s Work
- Family Background
- Curious Arthur
- Scientific Search
- Timely Bubbles
- Truth X-ray
- Compton Effect
- Arthur’s War
- Applied Compton
- Faith’s Science
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Link will appear as Arthur Compton Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 4, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
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