RAYLEIGH 1842 - 1919


John William Strutt Lord Rayleigh Born: 12 Nov 1842 in Langford Grove (near Maldon), Essex, England Died: 30 June 1919

in Terling Place, Witham, Essex, England John William Strutt suffered from poor health and his schooling at Eton and Harrow

was disrupted and for four years he had a private tutor. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1861, graduating in 1864.

His first paper in 1865 was on Maxwell's electromagnetic theory. He worked on propagation of sound and, while on an

excursion to Egypt taken for health reasons, Strutt wrote Treatise on Sound (1870-1). In 1879 he wrote a paper on travelling

waves, this theory has now developed into the theory of solitons. His theory of scattering (1871) was the first correct

explanation of why the sky is blue. In 1873 he succeeded to the title of Baron Rayleigh. From 1879 to 84 he was the second

Cavendish professor of experimental physics at Cambridge succeeding Maxwell. Then in 1884 he became secretary of the

Royal Society. Rayleigh discovered the inert gas argon in 1895, work which earned him a Nobel Prize, in 1904. He was

awarded the De Morgan Medal of the London Mathematical Society in 1890 and was president of the Royal Society between

1905 and 1908. He became chancellor of Cambridge University in 1908.