Article ID: CBB000410767

William Henry Bragg in Adelaide: Beginning Research at a Colonial Locality (2004)


This essay presents an account of W. H. Bragg's earliest research program in Australia during the years 1904-1907: a study of the behavior of alpha particles from radioactive decay. It is suggested that problems associated with distance and isolation played a pivotal role in Bragg's thinking and acting during this period and that his use of two advocates, Ernest Rutherford and Frederick Soddy, was essential to the success of the program. It is further argued that this account supports a substantial amendment of the centerperiphery model of colonial science to embrace a much closer attention to place and locality; that is, it supports a polycentric model (in which the center might still be prominent).

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Authors & Contributors
Trenn, Thaddeus J.
Rehn, Martin
Reiter, Wolfgang L.
Hon, Giora
Home, Roderick W.
Guerra, Francisco
Physics in Perspective
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences
Chinese Journal for the History of Science and Technology
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Taylor & Francis
Oxford University Press
Atomic, nuclear, and particle physics
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Rutherford, Ernest, 1st Baron
Soddy, Frederick
Bohr, Niels Henrik David
Bragg, William Henry
Pettersson, Hans
Meyer, Stefan
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, early
19th century
21st century
Great Britain
Vienna (Austria)
Cambridge University
Cavendish Laboratory
Royal Society of London

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