Reference numberPB/3/1
Previous numbersC.1-C.71
TitleMagnetic Spin and Rotating Bodies
DescriptionBlackett's principal period of research on this topic was 1946-1951. His work on cosmic rays and their origin had let to an interest in astrophysics and the possible influence of magnetic fields on phenomena in electron showers. Further investigation led Blackett to postulate a proportional relationship between magnetic moment and angular momentum, which might constitute 'a possible general law of Nature for all massive rotating bodies'. This hypothesis, formulated in his 1947 paper published in 'Nature' (R.S. 56) attracted very wide attention among the general public as well as in scientific circles (See C.68-71).

Experiments to verify the hypothesis were devised and undertaken, Blackett's own chief contribution being the construction of a highly sensitive magnetometer which eventually gave a negative result and thus disproved the general validity of the earlier theory. (See C.9-12 and note) The sensitivity of the apparatus, however, enabled weak magnetic fields to be detected, and was thus admirably suited to the work on paleomagnetism to which Blackett turned his attention. (see C.72-268 and the introductory note). Blackett's letters to J.W. Warwick, M. Farbstein (C.64) and W. Sullivan (J.97) give his account of his hypothesis and its history.

See Bernard Lovell, 'P.M.S. Blackett: A Biographical Memoir', Royal Society: 1976, pp39-44, and R.S. 54, 56, 60, 61, 62,64

The material is presented as follows:

C.1-29 Working papers, notes, lectures and publications relating to Blackett's hypothesis on magnetic spin and the devising of apparatus and experiments to test it. presented chronologically, retaining Blackett's folders and descriptions as far as possible. 1946-1954

C.30-40 Noteboks at manchester and Imperial College, by Blackett and his assistants. 1947-1954

C.41-71 Correspondence on magnetic spin 1946-1973
Access statusOpen
Add to My Items

    Collection highlights

    Browse the records of some of our collections, which cover all branches of science and date from the 12th century onwards. These include the published works of Fellows of the Royal Society, personal papers of eminent scientists, letters and manuscripts sent to the Society or presented at meetings, and administrative records documenting the Society's activities since our foundation in 1660.

    The Royal Society

    The Royal Society is a Fellowship of many of
    the world's most eminent scientists and is the
    oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.
    Registered charity number 207043

    Website design ©CalmView


    + 44 207 451 2500
    (Lines open Mon-Fri, 9:00-17:00. Excludes bank holidays)

    6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG

    Email Us →


    Subscribe to our newsletters to be updated with the
    latest news on innovation, events, articles and reports.

    Subscribe →

    © CalmView