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William CrookesSir William Crookes was born June 17, 1832 in London.His scientific career began at age 15, when he entered theRoyal College of Chemistry in Hanover Square London. From1850 to 1854 he filled the position of assistant in the college.In 1851 his first published papers were on certain new compoundsof the element selenium, the silenocyanides. In 1954 he becamethe superintendent of the meteorological department at Radcliff Observatory in Oxford. In 1859 he founded the Chemical News,which he edited for many years.The English experimentalist contributed to many or the new fields of physics andchemistry that emerged in the late 19th century. His investigations of the photographicprocess motivated his work in the new science of spectroscopy.
Using his techniquesCrookes discovered the element thallium, which won him election to the Royal SocietyHis efforts in determining the weight of thallium in an evacuated chamber led to hisresearch in vacuum physics.Crookes invented the radiometer in 1875 and beginning in 1878, investigatedelectrical discharges through highly evacuated "Crookes tubes." These studies laid thefoundation for J.J. Thomson's research in the late 1890s concerning discharge-tubphenomena. At the age of 68 Crookes began investigating the phenomenon ofPage 2 of 2radioactivity, which had been discovered in 1896, and invented a device that detectedalpha particles emitted from radioactive material. Crookes maintained an interest inagriculture and warned in 1898 that the world's population would face starvation unlessnew fertilizer sources were discovered. He was also interested in psychic phenomena.He was knighted in 1897 by King Edward VII. In 1910 he received the highestdecoration in the land The Order Of Merit.
Sir William Crookes died at the age of 87 onApril 4,1919.
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