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Famous Freemason - Edward Victor Appleton




"I don't mind what language an opera is sung in so long as it is the language I don't understand."

Edward Victor Appleton was an English physicist, Nobel Prize winner (1947) and pioneer in radiophysics. He studied, and was also employed as a lab technician, at Bradford College from 1909 to 1911.


He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1947 for his seminal work proving the existence of the ionosphere during experiments carried out in 1924.


Appleton was born in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, the son of Peter Appleton, a warehouseman, and Mary Wilcock, and was educated at Hanson Grammar School.


In 1911, aged 18, he was awarded a scholarship to attend St John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated with First Class Honours in Natural Science with Physics in 1913. He was also a member of Isaac Newton University Lodge. In 1915, he married his first wife, Jessie Appleton (formerly Longson), with whom he had two kids. He remarried three years after her death to Helen Lennie.

During the First World War he joined the West Riding Regiment, and later transferred to the Royal Engineers. After returning from active service in the First World War, Appleton became assistant demonstrator in experimental physics at the Cavendish Laboratory in 1920. In 1922 he was initiated into Freemasonry. He was professor of physics at King's College London (1924–1936) and professor of natural philosophy at the University of Cambridge (1936–1939). From 1939 to 1949 he was secretary of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. Knighted in 1941, he received the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to the knowledge of the ionosphere, which led to the development of radar.


From 1949 until his death in 1965, Appleton was Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh. In 1956, the BBC invited him to deliver the annual Reith Lectures. Across a series of six radio broadcasts, titled Science and the Nation, he explored the many facets of scientific activity in Britain at the time.


Bro. Appelton was a member of Issac Newton Lodge No. 859, in Cambridge, England

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