Some historical extracts relevant to the discovery and application of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals to contribute to the centennial celebration and the International Year of Crystallography

John R. Helliwell*, Alexander J. Blake, John Blunden-Ellis, Moreton Moore, Carl H. Schwalbe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Illustrative extracts from the writings of Paul P. Ewald and of Max von Laue are presented. The latter in turn contains extensive text contributions from William Lawrence Bragg. These selections we have chosen so as to indicate the nature of the discovery of X-ray diffraction from crystals (experiments undertaken by Friedrich, Knipping and von Laue) and its early and prompt application in crystal structure analyses (by William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg). The platform for these discoveries was provided by a macroscopic physics problem dealt with by Ewald in his doctoral thesis with Arnold Sommerfeld in the Munich Physics Department, which is also where von Laue was based. W.L. Bragg was a student in Cambridge who used Trinity College Cambridge as his address on his early papers; experimental work was done by him in the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, and also with his father, W.H. Bragg, in the Leeds University Physics Department. Of further historical interest is the award of an Honorary DSc (Doctor of Science) degree in 1936 to Max von Laue by the University of Manchester, UK, while William Lawrence Bragg was Langworthy Professor of Physics there.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-19
Number of pages17
JournalCrystallography Reviews
Volume18
Issue number1
Early online date16 Dec 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

Keywords

  • centennial celebration
  • discovery of X-ray diffraction
  • honorary DSc for von Laue
  • Max von Laue writings
  • Paul Ewald writings
  • William Lawrence Bragg writings

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