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Photograph (Gelatine Print) of X-Ray Spectral Lines, by H.G.J. Moseley, Oxford, January 1970 (Original c.1913)

preview image for Photograph (Gelatine Print) of X-Ray Spectral Lines, by H.G.J. Moseley, Oxford, January 1970 (Original c.1913)
Object is on display.
Inventory Number: 98186
Object Type:
Persons: Henry Gwyn Jeffreys Moseley
Date Created: 1970
Place Created: Oxford England United Kingdom Europe
Brief Description: Copy print; others (originals) in manuscript collection, for example Inv. Num. 13535 Eight Photographs (Gelatine Prints) Showing X-Ray Spectra Obtained by H. G. J. Moseley, Manchester / Oxford, c.1913.

These reproduced photographs are copies of original photographs produced by Moseley in 1913 and 1914. They are outputs of experiments conducted by Henry Moseley, first at Manchester in 1913 and then at Oxford from November 1913 to the summer of 1914. He studied chemical samples using X-ray spectroscopy and hence determine their atomic number. The results were published in the ‘Philosophical Magazine’ in 1913 and 1914.

Moseley used X-rays to analyse the properties of elements in a new and brilliant way: he generated characteristic X-rays of sample elements and analysed them in the spectrometer. Moseley placed the specimens he wanted to investigate in an X-ray tube and created a vacuum by evacuating air from the X-ray tube and spectrometer. He made use of the effect that when an element is bombarded with energetic electrons X-rays with characteristic wavelengths are produced. These different wavelengths led to the X-rays being reflected at different angles from the crystal in the centre of the spectrometer. So when X-ray beams of different wavelengths hit a photographic plate they will create distinct lines. The angular position and separation of these lines are unique for each element. These values helped Harry to determine the wavelengths of the lines and hence the number of protons in the element’s nucleus.

See attached narrative 'Henry 'Harry' Moseley and his experiments' for further details.
Primary Inscriptions: Inscribed on back: 'Copy Jan 1970'.
Collection Group:
Material(s): Paper
Height Width Depth Diameter Unit
97 65 mm


Image with multimedia irn 53598

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