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John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh
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Scientist
    (November 12, 1842-June 30, 1919)
    Born in Langford Grove, Essex, England, United Kingdom
    Brother-in-law of Prime Minister Arthur Balfour
    Professor of Physics (1879-84) and Natural Philosophy (1887-1905) at the University of Cambridge
    Chancellor of Cambridge (1908-19)
    With William Ramsay, discovered the noble gas argon (1894)
    Made fundamental discoveries in the fields of acoustics and optics
    Discovered Rayleigh scattering: the scattering of light (or other electromagnetic radiation) by particles smaller than the wavelength of the light
    Namesake for Rayleigh waves, the Rayleigh criterion, Rayleigh flow, the Rayleigh-Plesset equation and Rayleigh-Taylor instability
    Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics (1904)
    He had to drop out from both Eton and Harrow due to poor health.
    He wrote part of the textbook 'The Theory of Sound' while honeymooning with his wife on the Nile.
    Although he served in the House of Lords, he rarely spoke up on political issues.
    His discovery of Rayleigh scattering answered the age-old child's question, 'Why is the sky blue?'
    He did most of his research in a private lab built on the family estate.
    His textbook 'The Theory of Sound' remains a standard for acoustic engineers.
    He was one of the twelve initial members of the Order of Merit (1902).

Credit: C. Fishel


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