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HENRY MOSELEY: A NOBEL NOMINEE WHO LOST HIS LIFE IN WAR
Moseley, who discovered the atomic number, which forms the basis of the modern periodic table, proved that the properties of elements are related only to atomic number. In 1913, Moseley observed and measured the X-ray spectra of various chemical elements found in crystals by diffraction. Moseley’s law was presented as the first experimental evidence supporting the theory of Niels Bohr’s atomic model, and atomic physics and quantum physics developed after this law. Thanks to the law he developed, Ernest Rutherford’s and Antonius van den Broek’s model, which proposed that the nucleus of the atom has a number of positive charges equal to the atomic number in the periodic table, came to the fore. Moseley’s discovery proved that the number of elements was not just a random number determined by the intuition of chemists.
has shown that the numbers assigned to these elements have a sound experimental basis.
In 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, Moseley left his scientific research at Oxford University and joined the Royal British Army. In 1915, he was commissioned as a telecommunications officer for the Battle of Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire. He was reportedly shot in the head and killed on August 10th, 1915 by the Ottoman sniper Abdul the Terrible, during an action on the ridges of Suvla Bay.
If he had survived, it was certain that he would have won the 1916 Nobel Prize in physics. Indeed, Manne Siegbahn, who continued Moseley’s work, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1924. Isaac Asimov once wrote, “Considering what Moseley may yet have achieved, his death may be the single most costly death of the war to science in general”. With the help of physicist Ernest Rutherford, who lobbied heavily after Moseley’s death, the British government banned researchers with high level scientific work from serving in the British Royal Armies.