William Lawrence Bragg
Born: 31 March 1890, Adelaide, Australia
Died: 1 July 1971, Ipswich, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: Victoria University, Manchester, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for their services in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays"
Field: crystallography, x-rays
Prize share: 1/2
Max von Laue's discovery that diffraction patterns occur when X-rays pass through crystals inspired William and Lawrence Bragg to conduct their own studies in the area. Their contributions included establishing the relationship between the wavelength of the X-ray, its angle of incidence, and the distance between the atomic layers inside the crystal. This provided a powerful tool for studying crystals' structures. Using diffraction pattern methods, it now also became possible to calculate the positions of atoms in crystalline structures.