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Taylor, Sir Geoffrey Ingram

solids physics crystal metals

(1886–1975) British physicist: discovered how dislocations allow solids to deform under shear.

Taylor qualified at Cambridge, and was only absent from there during the two World Wars throughout his career, when he worked on aircraft design in the first, and on explosive shock waves in the second. From 1923 until his retirement in 1952 he held a professorship of physics. He conducted a great range of research in classical physics, always with originality, and chiefly on the mechanics of fluids and solids.

Having done major work on fluid turbulence he applied it in meteorology, aerodynamics and the planetary physics of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. In 1934 it occurred to him that metals and other crystalline solids might deform under shear because faults due to planes of atoms being ‘misarranged’ are propagated through the crystal. These faults he named dislocations, and their presence and movement does indeed determine how easily most solids are deformed, by comparison with the resilience of a perfect crystal. Work on the strength and the deformability of metals has since been much shaped by these ideas.

Taylor was renowned for his experimental skill. Very much liked, he was a keen sailor and his many inventions included a highly original anchor which became very popular for small boats. His proudest award was the Royal Cruising Club Cup for 1927, won for his trip to the Lofoten Isles, with his wife and a friend, in his 14.6 m cutter Frolic . When he carried out an experiment to see whether electrons are diffracted like waves the apparatus was sealed into a light-excluding box and left untouched for 2 weeks, so that he could go on a sailing holiday and return to the results.

Teacher - Different Kinds ofs, Different Varieties, Preschool and Kindergartens, Elementary Schools, Secondary Schools, Special Educations [next] [back] Taylor, Regina (1960–)

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