Joseph John Thomson (Physicist) – Bio, Birthday, Family, Age & Born
J. J. Thomson

Sir Joseph John Thomson was a British physicist and Nobel Laureate in Physics, credited with the discovery of the electron, the first subatomic particle to be discovered. In 1897, Thomson showed that cathode rays were composed of previously unknown negatively charged particles, which he calculated must have bodies much smaller than atoms and a very large charge-to-mass ratio. Thomson is also credited with finding the first evidence for isotopes of a stable element in 1913, as part of his exploration into the composition of canal rays. His experiments to determine the nature of positively charged particles, with Francis William Aston, were the first use of mass spectrometry and led to the development of the mass spectrograph. Thomson was awarded the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the conduction of electricity in gases.

Born: Joseph John Thomson, December 18, 1856, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, England
Died: August 30, 1940, Cambridge, England
Citizenship: British
Nationality: English
Fields: Physics
Institutions: Trinity College, Cambridge
Alma mater: Owens College (now the University of Manchester), Trinity College, Cambridge (BA)
Academic advisors: John Strutt (Rayleigh), Edward John Routh
Notable students: Charles Glover Barkla, Charles T. R. Wilson, Ernest Rutherford, Francis William Aston, John Townsend, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Owen Richardson, William Henry Bragg, H. Stanley Allen, John Zeleny, Daniel Frost Comstock, Max Born, T. H. Laby, Paul Langevin, Balthasar van der Pol, Geoffrey Ingram Taylor, Niels Bohr, George Paget Thomson
Known for: Plum pudding model, Discovery of electron, Discovery of isotopes, Mass spectrometer invention, First m/e measurement, Proposed first waveguide, Thomson scattering, Thomson problem, Coining term ‘delta ray’, Coining term ‘epsilon radiation’, Thomson (unit)
Notable awards: Smith’s Prize (1880), Royal Medal (1894), Hughes Medal (1902), Nobel Prize in Physics (1906), Elliott Cresson Medal (1910), Copley Medal (1914), Albert Medal (1915), Franklin Medal (1922), Faraday Medal (1925)
Children: George Paget Thomson, Joan Paget Thomson

About Joseph John Thomson

Physicist who proved that cathode rays had a negatively charged particle, now commonly known as the electron. He received the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics for his important work involving electricity in gasses.

Before Fame

He attended the University of Manchester, the University of Cambridge, Trinity College, and the Victoria University of Manchester.


He won a Royal Medal in 1894 and was awarded with a Hughes Medal in 1902.

Family Life

He had two children: George Paget Thomson and Joan Paget Thomson.


Author Ernest Hemingway also received a Nobel Prize.

Information related to J. J. Thomson

  • Presidents of the Institute of Physics
  • Presidents of the Physical Society
  • Masters of Trinity College, Cambridge
  • Second Wranglers
  • Presidents of the Royal Society
  • Presidents of the British Science Association
  • Mass spectrometrists
  • Alumni of the Victoria University of Manchester
  • Members of the Order of Merit
  • Nobel laureates in Physics
  • Experimental physicists
  • English mathematicians
  • Recipients of the Copley Medal
  • English physicists
  • Burials at Westminster Abbey
  • Royal Medal winners
  • English Anglicans
  • 20th-century physicists

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