Schuh’s Annotated Bio-Bibliography

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BRAGG, William Henry.

(1862 – 1942)

(Born: Wigton, Cumberland, England, 2 July 1862; Died: London, England, 12 March 1942) English physicist & crystallographer.

Bragg was professor of physics successively at the University of Adelaide, South Australia (1886-1908), University of Leeds (1909-1915) and the University College of London (1915-1920). In 1923, he became director of the Royal Institution. In association with his son, William Lawrence, he developed an ionization spectrometer, which he successfully applied to the X-ray study of crystals, and is today known as an important pioneer in the field.

Biographical references: Annual Register. Barr, Index to Biographical Fragments, 1973: 32. BBA: II 1330, 380-382. British Journal of the History of Science: 5 (1971), 258-81 [by R.H. Stuewer]. Caroe, G.M., William Henry Bragg. Cambridge, 1978. DNB: 1941-1950, 99-101. DSB: 2, 397-400 [by P. Forman]. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition. Fruton, Bio-Bibliography, 1982: 89. ISIS, 1913-65: 1, 186. Mineralogical Magazine: 28 (1947), no. 199, 185-6 [by L.J. Spencer]. Nature: 149 (1942), 346-51 [by E.N. da C. Andrade]. Nature: 195 (1962), 320-5 [by P.P. Ewald]. Obituary Notices of the Royal Society: 4 (1943), no. 12, 277-300, portait [by E.N. da C. Andrade]. Poggendorff: 5, 157-8, 1417, 6, 307-8 & 7b, 534-6. Sarjeant, Geologists, 1980: 2, 606 & Suppl. 2 (1995), 1, 460. Science: 95 (1942), 595-6 [by W.F.G. Swann]. WBI. World Who's Who in Science: 229.

1. English, 1915 [First edition].
X rays and crystal structure by W.H. Bragg and W.L. Bragg. London : G. Bell and Sons, 1915.

8°: vii, 228 p., 4 plates, diagrams.

Very scarce. Bragg began his studies on crystal structure in 1912 and developed new methods for measuring the wavelengths of X-rays. The 'Bragg relation' opened up the use of X-rays in the study of solid bodies, particularly crystals. Through the use of the spectrometer which was built to measure the wavelengths, distances between atoms within a crystal lattice could be calculated by determining the refraction of a known wavelength of X-ray on to film surrounding target. This was a pivotal milestone in crystallographic determination. Before 1913, only general symmetry relationships could be pronounced about crystals, but by the end of 1913, the Braggs had reduced crystal structure analysis to a technical procedure. For these researches the father and son team received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1915. Their X-rays and Crystal Structure is the first separate publication collecting together material surrounding this remarkable research.

Earlier article, 1913: The Reflection of X-Rays By Crystals by W.H. Bragg and W. L. Bragg, published in: Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, 88 (1913), pp. 428-438.

This is the first serialization describing the `Bragg relation,' and which lead the Bragg's to construct the first X-ray spectrometer.

Bibliographical references: Norman Catalog: no. 319. NUC. Roller & Goodman, Catalogue, 1976: 1, 158. USGS Library Catalog.

2. English, 1916 [2nd edition].
X-rays and crystal structure, by W. H. Bragg ... and W. L. Bragg. Second edition. London, G. Bell and Sons, ltd., 1916.

8°: vii, [1], 228, [2] p., 4 plates, diagrams. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: NUC.

3. English, 1918 [3rd edition].
X Rays | And | Crystal Structure | By | W.H. Bragg, M.A., D.Sc., F.R.S. | Quain Professor Of Physics, University Of London | And | W.L. Bragg, B.A. | Fellow Of Trinity College, Cambridge | Third Edition | [ornament] | London | G. Bell And Sons, Ltd. | 1918.

8°: vii, [1], 228, [2] p., 4 plates, diagrams. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: NUC.

4. English, 1925 [First edition].
Concerning | The Nature Of Things | Six Lectures delivered | at the Royal Institution | By | Sir William Bragg | K.B.E., D.Sc., F.R.S. | Director Of The Royal Institution | [ornament] | London | G. Bell And Sons, Ltd. | 1925.

8°: xi, 231, [1] p., 32 plates, illus.

Very scarce. Professor Bragg's Christmas Lectures for children given at the Royal Institution were famous. One series was issued in book form under the title, Concerning the Nature of Things (London, 1925). Here, Bragg shows his genius in explaining in simple terms the complex nature of solids, liquids and gases that envelop us. Using layman language, he describes and defines atoms, gases, liquids, crystals, ice and snow crystals and metal crystals, all in a very readable volume. As an accurate introductory text it was at its publication a great source for readers wanting to know the internal structure of everything, and today it can still be examined to gain valuable insights into the nature of matter.

Reprinted: The book was reprinted in 1927, 1931, and 1933 with apparently little change to the text.

Bibliographical references: NUC. Roller & Goodman, Catalogue, 1976: 1, 157.

5. English, 1929 [American edition].
[Contained within a single rule box:] An Introduction | to | Crystal Analysis | By | Sir William Bragg | K.B.E., D.Sc., F.R.S. | [ornament] | New York: | D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. | Eight Warren Street.

8°: Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL. NUC.

6. English, 1933-4 [First edition].
The | Crystalline State | Edited By | Sir W.H. Bragg, O.M., K.B.E., D.Sc., F.R.S. | And | W.L. Bragg, D.Sc., F.R.S. | Volume I | A General Survey | By | W.L. Bragg | London | G.Bell And Sons Ltd | 1933.

8°: xiv, 352 p., 32 plates, numerous illus. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL. Dana's 7th (Bibliography): 67. Roller & Goodman, Catalogue, 1976: 1, 158.