October 6, 1903 - Birth of Ernest Walton, Nobel Prize winner for the transmutation of atomic nuclei

Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton, from a Methodist family, graduated from Belfast Methodist College in 1922 and Cambridge Trinity College in 1927.

Between 1927 and 1934 he devoted himself to research in nuclear physics under the direction of Ernest Rutherford, at the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge and received his doctorate in 1931.

His early research included theoretical and experimental studies in hydrodynamics and in indirect methods for producing fast particles, working on the linear accelerator and what would later be known as the betatron.

He collaborated with John Cockroft in the construction of one of the first atom disintegrators that allowed to demonstrate that several light elements could be disintegrated by the bombardment of fast protons. Thus, both were directly responsible for the disintegration of a lithium atom nucleus by bombardment with accelerated protons and for the identification of the products as helium nuclei.

In 1934, he taught at Trinity College and, four years later, he shared with Cockroft the Hughes Medal, awarded by the prestigious Royal Society of London, for his discovery that nuclei can be disintegrated by artificially produced particles that bombard.

Between 1946 and 1974, he held the Erasmus Smith chair of natural and experimental philosophy.

In 1951, Cockroft also shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the transmutation of atomic nuclei by artificially accelerated particles, which paved the way for the construction of large cyclotrons.

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