A chemist and physicist noted for his discovery of the element thallium and for his cathode-ray studies, fundamental in the development of atomic physics. Crookes studied at the Royal College of Chemistry, London. Soon after graduating he inherited a large fortune from his father after which he devoted himself entirely to scientific work at his private laboratory in London. His researches on electrical discharges through a rarefied gas led him to observe the dark space around the cathode, now called the Crookes dark space. In 1861 he discovered thallium, and during these studies he invented the radiometer, a device that has found numerous applications in the development of sensitive measuring instruments.
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National Portrait Gallery, London
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