The Lindemann Era

Jack Morrell

in Physics in Oxford, 1839-1939

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780198567929
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191718328 | DOI:
The Lindemann Era

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In 1919 Frederick Lindemann assumed the chair of experimental philosophy and responsibility for the Clarendon Laboratory. He had high ambitions: to launch and nurture high-quality research; to raise the status of science at Oxford; and to promote low-temperature physics as a distinguished feature of the Clarendon. This chapter supports the traditional view that Lindemann was the reviver of the Clarendon. However, Lindemann did not shine as a discoverer; indeed, he relinquished research at the bench in the mid-1920s. As a research supervisor he gave no training in research. His lectures verged on the inaudible; and his personality, though formidable, was often seen as austere. But he comprehended physics as a whole and on that basis became the impresario of the Clarendon, promoting and publicizing it whenever and wherever he could. The chapter adduces new evidence to characterize not only Lindemann's activities as an impresario but also the performances of the Clarendon troupe that he recruited and nurtured.

Keywords: Frederick Lindemann; Clarendon Laboratory; physics; Oxford University

Chapter.  12558 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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