Henry Moseley

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Henry Gwyn Jeffreys Moseley (23 November 1887 to 10 August 1915) was an English physicist. Moseley's outstanding contribution to the science of physics was the justification from physical laws of the previous empirical and chemical concept of the atomic number. This stemmed from his development of Moseley's law in X-ray spectra. Moseley's Law justified many concepts in chemistry by sorting the chemical elements of the Periodic Table of the Elements in a quite logical order based on their physics.

Moseley's law advanced atomic physics by providing the first experimental evidence in favor of Niels Bohr's theory, aside from the hydrogen atom spectrum which the Bohr theory was designed to reproduce. That theory refined Ernest Rutherford's and Antonius Van den Broek's model, which proposed that the atom contains in its nucleus a number of positive nuclear charges that is equal to its (atomic) number in the periodic table. This remains the accepted model today.

When World War I broke out in Western Europe, Moseley left his research work at the University of Oxford behind to volunteer for the Royal Engineers of the British Army. Moseley was assigned to the force of British Empire soldiers that invaded the region of Gallipoli, Turkey, in April 1915, as a telecommunications officer. In a tragic loss to science, Moseley was shot and killed during the Battle of Gallipoli on August 10, 1915, at the age of just 27. Some prominent authors, such as the biochemist Dr. Isaac Asimov, have speculated that Moseley would have been deserving of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1916 — a Nobel Prize that in this case was awarded to nobody — if he had not died in the service of the British Army.


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