Charles Glover Barkla
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1917
Born: 7 June 1877, Widnes, United Kingdom
Died: 23 October 1944, Edinburgh, Scotland
Affiliation at the time of the award: Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for his discovery of the characteristic Röntgen radiation of the elements."
Charles Glover Barkla received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1918.
Prize share: 1/1
Following the discovery of X-rays, it was soon established that an irradiated compound emitted secondary X-rays. In secondary spectra, lines appeared corresponding to different wavelengths. Around 1906, Charles Barkla showed that each element's secondary spectrum was unique, irrespective of temperature, structure, and chemical composition. Its spectrum was therefore a characteristic property of an atom and thus became an important tool in atomic research.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.