Bragg, Sir William Lawrence
1971 ALS by the British physicist, jointly awarded 1915 Nobel Prize with his father at age 25, youngest Nobel laureate until 2014
Autograph ID: 6523
Condition: Very good, 2 mail folds, some slight see-thru from handwriting on front
Description: “(1890-1971) British physicist and X-ray crystallographer, co-discovered (1912) the Bragg law of X-ray diffraction, the basis for determination of crystal structure. Australian-born son of physicist Wm. H. Bragg, Adelaide University degree in mathematics with first-class honors 1908, to England with his father in 1909, entered Trinity College, Cambridge, as an Allen Scholar, taking first-class honors in the Natural Science Tripos 1912. Later that year he began examining the von Laue phenomenon and published his 1st paper on the subject in the Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society in November. In 1914 he was appointed a Fellow and Lecturer in Natural Sciences at Trinity College and awarded the Barnard Medal. He worked with his father 1912-14, the results of their work published in an abridged form in X-rays and Crystal Structure(1915). This work jointly earned them the 1915 Nobel Prize for Physics and from 1915-19, W. L. Bragg served as Technical Advisor on Sound Ranging to the Map Section, G.H.Q., France, receiving the O.B.E. and the M.C. in 1918. He was Langworthy Professor of Physics at Manchester University 1919-37. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1921, was Director of the National Physical Laboratory 1937-38, and was Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics, Cambridge, 1938-53. He was Chairman of the Frequency Advisory Committee 1958-60. He was awarded the Hughes Medal of the Royal Society in 1931, knighted in 1941, awarded the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1946, and the Roebling Medal of the Mineral Society of America in 1948. With his father, he published various scientific papers on crystal structure after their joint publication of 1915: The Crystalline State (1934), Electricity (1936), and Atomic Structure of Minerals (1937). His chief projects were the application of X-ray analysis to the structure of protein molecules, which were being investigated in the Davy Faraday Laboratory of the Royal Institution, in continuation of similar work at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge. This collaboration succeeded in determining for the first time the structure of the highly complex molecules of living matter. W. L. Bragg
was the youngest-ever Nobel laureate (25) until 17 year-old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai won the 2014 Nobel Peace. The very rare opportunity of celebrating a golden jubilee as a Nobel Laureate was his during the 1965 ceremonies at Stockholm when Sir Lawrence, at the invitation of the Nobel Foundation, delivered a lecture, the first Nobel Guest Lecture, in retrospect, on developments in his field of interest during the past 50 years.
ALS “WL Bragg” on 7 x 8 blue-imprinted “The Royal Institution” letterhead, but written from Waldingfield (Suffolk, England), May 6 (no year, but likely 1971), 2pps (both sides of the sheet) London, blue seal at top center, to “Corinne”. Bragg has heard from “Martin” regretting Bragg cannot come to Austria and is trying to find a substitute for him. Bragg encloses (not present) a note to Martin and asks Corinne to send it with a copy of his note for Austria, hoping Martin can hand it to whoever is going. Bragg hopes the manuscript has reached Corinne “in time before the PO strike!” He does not yet have a Perutz (likely Nobel laureate Max Perutz) photo and asks Corinne if she has seen an article in the Sunday Times. He sent several pages of corrections, “the usual awful rush but they got there in time.”
Letter likely dates from 1971 as the reference to the “PO strike” probably is to the Jan. 20-Mar. 8, 1971 British postal labor strike. MAX F. PERUTZ (1914-2002) Austrian-born British molecular biologist, shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with John Kendrew, for their studies of the structures of hemoglobin and myoglobin. At Cambridge he founded and chaired (1962-79) The Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, 14 of whose scientists have won Nobel Prizes.”