Francis Aston, British chemist

Francis Aston, British chemist

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Credit: EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Francis William Aston (1877-1945), British chemist and physicist. Aston initially studied chemistry at Mason College, Birmingham. He then began research in physics and in 1909 was invited to Cambridge by J. J. Thomson. Aston's work here, interrupted by the First World War, led to his development of the mass spectrometer by 1919. He used his new invention to discover 212 naturally occurring isotopes, for which work he was awarded the 1922 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He also formulated the 'whole number rule' for atomic masses. Other interests included astronomy, and he joined several expeditions to study solar eclipses.

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