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The Legacy of Lord Rayleigh

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The Third Baron Rayleigh was an undergraduate at Trinity College, graduating in 1865 as Senior Wrangler and Smith’s Prizeman in Mathematics. Later he returned to Cambridge as Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics, following James Clerk Maxwell in that position. His name is associated with the Rayleigh-Jeans law, Rayleigh scattering, Rayleigh waves, the Rayleigh disc, and the Rayleigh criterion – to mention just a few of his achievements. In addition, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the gas argon. The laboratories used by Lord Rayleigh are still extant at the family seat in Terling, Essex, and provide a wonderful and unique insight into the life and work of this great Victorian scientist. The knowledge he gave to the world is still at work today in acoustics, in the design of optical instruments and antennae, in the use of surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices, in seismology, and in studies of convection in fluids, atmospheric turbulence, ink-jet technology and solitary waves.

This talk is part of the Trinity College Science Society (TCSS) series.

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