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John William Strutt

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John William Strutt

John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, OM (Born::November 12, 1842Died::June 30, 1919) was an English physicist who found the element argon, this discovery earned him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1904. He is also responsible for the discovery of what are now called Rayleigh waves, which are simply surface waves.

He studied mathematics at Trinity College in Cambridge, he was there from 1861 until when he graduated in 1865. He was than elected to a Fellowship of Trinity College, which he held until his marriage to Evelyn Balfour in 1871.

He later became the second Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge University, following James Clerk Maxwell in this position from 1879 to 1884.

Rayleigh died on June 30, 1919 in Witham, Essex.

In honor of his scientific discoveries, there are craters on both Mars and the Moon name after him, as well as the Rayleigh wave.


  • BARRELL, H., `The Rayleighs and the National Physical Laboratory, Applied Optics, 3, 10, pp. 1125 and 1128, October 1964
  • KLEIN, M. J., `Max Planck and the beginnings of the quantum theory', Archive for History of the Exact Sciences, 1, 1962
  • STRUTT, JOHN WILLIAM, BARON RAYLEIGH, Scientific Papers: Vol.1 (1869-1881), Vol.II (1881-1887), Vol.III (1887-1892), Vol.IV (1892-1901), Vol.V (1902-1910), Vol. VI (1910-1919). Also Dover Publications 1964, printed as three volumes
  • [1] The Theory of Sound, by John William Strutt