- William Francis Gray Swann
William Francis Gray Swann (
August 29, 1884– January 29, 1962) was an Anglo-American physicist. He was educated at BrightonTechnical College and the Royal College of Sciencefrom which he obtained a B.Sc. in 1905. He worked as an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Sheffield, while simultaneously pursuing a doctorate at University College London, from which he received a D.Sc. in 1910. [ [http://www.webcitation.org/5XXPQoL3y "William Francis Gray Swann Papers"] , webpage of the American Philosophical Societyarchived at Webcite from [http://www.amphilsoc.org/library/mole/s/swann.htm this original URL] on 2008-05-03.]
Swann left Sheffield in 1913, when he went to the
United Statesto join the Carnegie Institute, becoming head of the Physical Division of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. He later became a professor at the University of Minnesota, then at the University of Chicagoand Yale University. E. O. Lawrence, the 1939 Nobel Laureate in Physics, was one of Swann's doctoral students at Yale.
In 1927 at the age of 43, he became the first director of the Bartol Research Foundation of the
Franklin Institute. Among his first acts as Director was to arrange a contract to locate the Foundation at Swarthmore College, which is fairly close to Philadelphia. He continued as Director of the Foundation until his retirement in 1959, when he was replaced by Martin A. Pomerantz. [Giardinelli, Alisa (2004). [http://www.webcitation.org/5WBu2x5zd "A Dream Deferred,"] "Swarthmore College Bulletin", March 2004. Webpage archived at WebCite from [http://www.swarthmore.edu/bulletin/index.php?id=86 this original URL] on 2008-03-09.] [Rowland-Perry, Sherry L. (2005). [http://www.webcitation.org/5WBuDO2g0 "The Bartol Research Institute: A Brief History,"] webpage of [http://www.bartol.udel.edu/ The Bartol Research Institute] archived at WebCite from [http://www.bartol.udel.edu/basics/history.html this original URL] on 2008-03-09.]
He is particularly noted for his research into
cosmic raysand high-energy physics. He produced over 250 publications, including his influential, popular book "The Architecture of the Universe" (in 1934).
In addition to being a physicist, he was also known as an accomplished cellist and he founded the Swarthmore Symphony Orchestra. He retired in 1959, and died in 1962 in Swarthmore.
In 1967 the International Astronomical Union named the Swann crater on the
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