APPLES AND ATOMS BY EILIS O’CONNELL
Apples and Atoms by Eilís O’Connell RHA Celebrating Ernest T.S. Walton 1903-95, Nobel Laureate
In 1932, Ernest Walton and John Cockcroft split the nucleus of a Li (lithium) atom, often termed ‘splitting the atom’. The experiment was carried out in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, England. Albert Einstein declared that their experiment was the first demonstration of his famous E=mc2 equation.
Commemorating the 80th anniversary of the experiment, Trinity College Dublin invited six artists to submit a design responding to a brief to commemorate Ernest Walton’s research achievements as well as over 30 years of dedication to science education. Eilís O’Connell’s design was selected by an interdisciplinary panel including representatives from the Walton family, the School of Physics, the College Art Collections, the students, and external visual arts professionals.
Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton (6 October 1903 – 25 June 1995) was an Irish physicist and Nobel laureate. He is best known for his work with John Cockcroft to construct one of the earliest types of particle accelerator, the Cockcroft–Walton generator. In experiments performed at Cambridge University in the early 1930s using the generator, Walton and Cockcroft became the first team to use a particle beam to transform one element to another. According to their Nobel Prize citation: “Thus, for the first time, a nuclear transmutation was produced by means entirely under human control.”