Observing the World of Particles
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The Cloud Chamber

The Wilson Expansion Chamber

Charles Wilson saw tracks of single charged particles in his cloud chamber the first time in 1910. Having studied meteorology and the formation of water droplets that make clouds, he started his research on cloud formation in 1894. He made a chamber filled with water and air where the temperature could rapidly be lowered by pulling a piston that caused the air to expand. The water vapour would condense into droplets along a track of a charged particle that traverses the chamber at the right moment. The tracks could be photographed and with his invention Wilson visualised for the first time tracks of atomic particles. He received the Nobel Prize for his invention in 1927.

The Wilson cloud chamber was used to study different kinds of particles and interactions for more than 40 years and many discoveries were made.


Related Laureate

 The Nobel Prize in Physics 1927 - Charles Thomson Rees Wilson  »    

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