BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

16 October 2014

BBC Homepage
» Education
Addysg (Welsh)
Bitesize TGAU
Did You Know?
Just the Job
Resources catalogue
BBC Learning

Cymru'r Byd


Music & Arts

News Wales

Sport Wales

TV & Radio

Your BBC Wales

Contact Us

Home Interviews Flashbacks Farout Gizzajob
Williams the Classic
!--ram link-->

Professor Evan James Williams FRS
1903 - 1945
Llanwenog Primary School; Llandysul Grammar School

Williams the Classic

In a nutshell
Williams was a brilliant user of quantum mechanics, predicting the existence of a new atomic particle, the meson.

Track RecordA brilliant physicist, EJ Williams was invited to work with the giants of international physics of the day. He made himself and others try to visualise what was happening on an atomic scale.

How we understand atomic collisions - X-rays passing through gases or the impact of fast electrons on atoms - still owes a lot to EJ Williams, even when now, 60 years later, new particles have been discovered which Williams knew nothing about.

As with other eminent scifiles, he was seconded to the Forces during the Second World War. Here, too, his brilliant capacity to analyse problems was put to good use in the struggle against the devastating efficiency of the German U-boats (submarines). His insight played an important part in ultimately eliminating this enemy action, an action which had devastated British ships at the cost of many lives.

The Science
His particular scientific area of work was the study of the mechanism of the collisions of atomic particles. What exactly is happening when, for example, electrons hit atoms? Williams was always trying to picture exactly what was happening.

With this emphasis he could be described as a classical physicist, in the tradition of Newton and Faraday. But he recognised that a new sort of mechanics had been created. Providing important predictions of atomic events, this is now called quantum mechanics.

Where do Wales' great Scientists come from?


About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy