William Crookes Sir William Crookes was born June 17, 1832 in London. His scientific career began at age 15, when he entered the Royal College of Chemistry in Hanover Square London. From 1850 to 1854 he filled the position of assistant in the college. In 1851 his first published papers were on certain new compounds of the element selenium, the. In 1954 he became the superintendent of the meteorological department at Radcliff Observatory in Oxford. In 1859 he founded the Chemical News, which he edited for many years.

The English experimentalist contributed to many or the new fields of physics and chemistry that emerged in the late 19 th century. His investigations of the photographic process motivated his work in the new science of spectroscopy. Using his techniques Crookes discovered the element thallium, which won him election to the Royal Society His efforts in determining the weight of thallium in an evacuated chamber led to his research in vacuum physics. Crookes invented the radiometer in 1875 and beginning in 1878, investigated electrical discharges through highly evacuated "Crookes tubes." These studies laid the foundation for J.

J. Thomson's research in the late 1890 s concerning discharge-tub phenomena. At the age of 68 Crookes began investigating the phenomenon of Page 2 of 2 radioactivity, which had been discovered in 1896, and invented a device that detected alpha particles emitted from radioactive material. Crookes maintained an interest in agriculture and warned in 1898 that the world's population would face starvation unless new fertilizer sources were discovered. He was also interested in psychic phenomena. He was knighted in 1897 by King Edward VII.

In 1910 he received the highest decoration in the land The Order Of Merit. Sir William Crookes died at the age of 87 on April 4, 1919.