Stoney, George Johnstone

George Johnstone Stoney FRS (1826-1911)

George Johnstone Stoney was born in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin and is remembered as a physicist and university administrator. He was a graduate of the University of Dublin and was the first astronomer at Parsonstown Observatory (1848-1852). He became Professor of Natural Philosophy at Queen's College Galway and later worked in university administration.

It is for his conception and calculation of the magnitude of the 'atom or particle of electricity' for which Stoney proposed the name 'electron', that he is best remembered. He proposed a model of the atom, a precursor of the Bohr model of the atom. He introduced the use of wave numbers into spectroscopy.

Stoney retired to London in 1893 and became vice-president of the Royal Society in 1898. His work in the field of university administration is recognised by the Stoney Summer School, which investigates matters of science policy and government.

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