Views & Reviews In and Out of Hospital

Talented oldsters

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 14 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8459
  1. James Owen Drife, emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Leeds
  1. J.O.Drife{at}

Near my former office is a blue plaque commemorating the Braggs, father and son. In 1913, William Bragg, professor of physics at Leeds, built a spectrometer after his student son Lawrence had a flash of insight into the nature of x rays. Together, “working furiously all through the summer,” they founded the science of x ray spectroscopy.

Two years later they won the Nobel prize. Lawrence was 25 and remains the youngest ever laureate, though four other physicists have won at the age …

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