Record

Authorised form of nameMott; Sir; Nevill Francis (1905 - 1996)
Dates1905 - 1996
Place of birthLeeds
Date of birth30/09/1905
Date of death08/08/1996
ActivityEducation:
Mott was educated at Clifton College, Bristol and St John's College, Cambridge where he studied mathematics and theoretical physics.
Career:
Professor of Theoretical Physics, Bristol University
After three years research in applied mathematics he was appointed to a lectureship at Manchester University in 1929. He returned to Cambridge in 1930 as a Fellow and lecturer of Gonville and Caius College and in 1933 moved to Bristol University as Melville Wills Professor in Theoretical Physics. In 1948 he became Henry Overton Wills Professor of Physics and Director of the Henry Herbert Wills Physical Laboratory at Bristol. In 1954 he was appointed Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge, a post he held until 1971. Additionally he served as Master of Gonville and Caius College, 1959-1966.

Mott's early research at Cambridge established his reputation in the application of the new ideas of wave mechanics to collisions of atomic particles. On moving to Bristol he left this field for that of metals and alloys, establishing an international reputation there too within a few years. Later he turned to research on semiconductors and insulators, and to problems concerned with the formation of a latent image in a photographic emulsion. During Mott's twenty-one years at Bristol his group occupied a position of great eminence in theoretical physics. War-related work during the Second World War was concerned with the propagation of radio waves and the explosive fragmentation of shell and bomb cases.

Mott's appointment as Cavendish Professor inevitably led to a greater involvement in administration both in the laboratory and the university and he assumed a number of positions nationally and internationally, both within the scientific community and more widely, for example, in the field of education. Nevertheless he remained active in research. The work for which he shared the 1977 Nobel Prize in the area of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems was begun in the 1960s, while in his final years he was engaged in investigations of high temperature superconductivity. Mott was not only one of the great theoreticians of the twentieth-century, his work in semiconductors and solid state physics had great practical implications, enabling improvements to be made to the performance of electronic circuits, including computer memories, and in making more efficient solar energy cells.

Medals and prizes:
Nobel Prize (Physics) 1977
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election07/05/1936
Age at election30
Royal Society activityMedals and prizes:
Hughes Medal 1941; Royal Medal 1953; Copley Medal 1972
Lectures:
Bakerian 1953; Rutherford Memorial Lecture 1962; Humphry Davy 1987
RelationshipsHis father, Charles Francis Mott, who later became Director of Education of Liverpool, and his mother, Lillian Mary Mott nee Reynolds, had been research students together under J.J. Thomson at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge.
Published works'The Theory of Atomic Collisions' (with H.S.W. Massey, 1933; ' Electronic Processes in Non-Crystalline Materials' (with E.A. Davis, 1971); 'Metal-Insulator Transitions ' (1974); ' Conduction in Non-Crystalline Materials' (1986). He edited a volume of essays by scientists on religious belief 'Can scientists believe?' (1991). In 1986 Mott published an autobiography 'A life in science. '
SourcesAssocMaterial:
NCUACS 119/5/03. Papers deposited in Cambridge University Library
Sources:
Bulloch's Roll
Obituaries:
Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 1998 vol 44 pp 313-328, plate, by Sir Brian Pippard
References:
Maurice V Wilkes, 'Historical Studies in Science and Technology and the Uses to which They can be Put' in NR 1999 vol 53 pp 3-10
P B Moon, 'The (London) Physics Club, 1928-1953' in NR 1992 vol 46 pp 171-174
S Devons, 'Rutherford and the Science of His Day' in NR 1991 vol 45 pp 221-242
G V R Born, FRS, 'The wide-ranging family history of Max Born' in NR 2002 vol 56 pp 219-262
N R Ingram, 'All that you can't leave behind' in NR 2003 vol 57 pp 177-184
Royal Society codeNA3218
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
PB/7/2/4/1/5Correspondence, preliminary notes, and manuscript and typescript account for President Royal Society, of meeting between Sir John Anderson, Bernal, Blackett and Sir Thomas Merton1945
PB/6/2/5/7Correspondence with University Grants Committee1963
PB/9/1/96/6Correspondence with Nevill F Mott re affairs of Pugwash1961-1964
PB/4/10/14/2Correspondence with Nevill F Mott deprecating Blackett's views against international control of atomic energy as 'absolutely disastrous'November 1946
PB/8/19/3List of delegates at the Federation of British Industries Conference, November 19491949
PB/8/18/6/2Blackett's correspondence with colleagues and friends re text or opinions of 'Military and political consequences of atomic energy'1948-1949
PB/1/33/1/6Nobel Prize1948
PB/4/7/3/21'Report on Analysis of Balloon Calibrations with Mark I/EF on Matted Sites'1941
PB/7/2/4/11Administration and Management of Research and Development.1965
IM/GA/WS/1224Mott, Sir Nevill Francisnd
IM/GA/WRS/8327Mott, Sir Nevill Francisnd
IM/003196Mott, Sir Nevill Francisnd
RR/67/367Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on two papers 'Phosphorescence and electron traps - I. The study of trap distributions' and Phosphorescence and electron traps II. The interpretation of long-period phosphorescence' by John Turton Randall and Maurice Hugh Frederick WilkinsDecember 1940
NLB/31/376Copy letter from Archibald Geikie, to Dr Francis Walker Mott, Fellow of the Royal Society26 August 1905
RR/66/133Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Self-consistent field with exchange for carbon' by A Jucys[July 1939]
RR/61/4Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The interaction of vapour molecules with a crystal surface' by Thomas AltyMarch 1937
RR/40/23Referee's report by Ralph Howard Fowler, on a paper 'The scattering of electrons by atoms' by Nevill Francis MottMarch 1930
RR/60/39Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The nature of the links in some aromatic molecules II' by W G PenneyOctober 1936
RR/43/125Referee's report by Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, on a paper 'The polarisation of electrons by double scattering' by Nevill Francis MottDecember 1931
RR/65/192Referee's report by Ralph Howard Fowler, on a paper 'On the absorption of light by crystals' by Nevill Francis MottJune 1938
RR/72/186Letter from Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'An elastic theory of dislocations' by Elizabeth H Mann to D C Martin, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society12 April 1949
RR/61/95Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Comparison of wave-functions for HeH++ and HeH+' by C A Coulson and W E DuncansonDecember 1937
RR/69/186Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'A theory of the dependence of the rate of detonation of solid explosives on the diameter of the charge' by Harry Jones1946
RR/71/228Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'A resonating-valence-bond theory of metals and intermetallic compounds' by Linus Carl Pauling17 August 1948
RR/71/250Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The theory of the anomalous skin effect in metals' by G E H Reuter and E H Sondheimer1948
RR/58/54Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The electronic structure of some polyenes and aromatic molecules I–The nature of the links by the method of molecular orbitals' by John Edward Lennard-JonesOctober 1936
RR/60/21Referee's report by Charles Galton Darwin, on a paper 'The resistance and thermoelectric properties of the transition metals' by Nevill Francis MottJune 1936
RR/58/59Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Magnetic anisotropy and electronic structure of aromatic molecules' by Kathleen Yardley LonsdaleNovember 1936
RR/69/237Referee's report by Herbert John Gough, on a paper 'Fragmentation of shell cases' by Nevill Francis Mott3 January 1946
RR/61/30Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'An analysis by adsorption of the surface structure of graphite' by Richard Maling BarrerMarch 1937
RR/69/39Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The theory of the Raman effect in crystals, in particular rock-salt' by Max Born and Mary Bradburn1945
RR/62/36Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The interaction of atoms and molecules with solid surfaces IX—The emission and absorption of energy by a solid' by C Strachan[September 1936]
RR/64/18Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'A theoretical formula for the solubility of hydrogen in metals' by Ralph Howard Fowler and C J Smithells[February 1937]
RR/62/61Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Some properties of the metallic state II—Metallic hydrogen and deuterium' by Alfred Rene Jean Paul Ubbelohdend [December 1936]
RR/64/77Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Penetration into potential barriers in several dimensions' by P L Kapur and Rudolf Ernst Peierls[August 1937]
RR/66/200Referee's report by Cyril Norman Hinshelwood, on a paper 'On the decomposition of metallic azides' by Nevill Francis Mott[June 1939]
RR/62/75Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Experimental and theoretical problems of photography, II' by J E P Wagstaff and W A Prowse[October 1937]
RR/63/131Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The adsorption of argon, nitrogen and oxygen on smooth platinum foil at low temperatures and pressures' by F J WilkinsOctober 1937
RR/63/118Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Experimental and theoretical problems of photography - I' by J E P Wagstaff and W A ProwseOctober 1937
RR/63/122Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Properties of adsorbed films with repulsive interaction between the adsorbed atoms' by Jwu-shi WangApril 1937
RR/64/78Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'A transmutation function for deuterons' by P L Kapur[August 1937]
RR/64/76Referee's report by John Edward Lennard-Jones, on a paper 'The electronic specific heat and X-ray absorption of metals, and some other properties related to electron bands' by Harry Jones and Nevill Francis Mott24 June 1937
RR/64/104Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The interaction of atoms and molecules with solid surfaces - XI—The dispersal of energy from an activated link' by John Edward Lennard-Jones[August 1937]
RR/66/201Referee's report by Ralph Howard Fowler, on a paper 'The theory of crystal rectifiers' by Nevill Francis Mott[February 1939]
RR/65/61Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The electronic structure of some polyenes and aromatic molecules. VII. Bonds of fractional order by the molecular orbital method' by Charles Alfred CoulsonOctober 1938
RR/66/24Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Reciprocity failure of photographic materials at short exposure times' by W F Berg[December 1939]
RR/67/2Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The glide elements of body-centred cubic crystal, with special reference to the effect of temperature' by Edward Neville Da Costa Andrade and Y S ChowMarch 1940
RR/66/89Referee's report by Owen Willans Richardson, on a paper 'The mean free path of electrons in polar crystals' by Herbert Fröhlich and Nevill Francis Mott[May 1939]
RR/66/199Referee's report by Richard Whiddington, on a paper 'Note on copper-cuprous oxide photocells' by Nevill Francis Mott April 1939]
RR/66/238Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The phosphorescence of various solids' by John Turton Randall and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins[January 1940]
RR/69/141Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Relativistic equations for elementary particles' by Harish-Chandra1946
RR/66/312Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Calculated wave functions and energy values for X-ray terms of potassium' by W A Thatcher[May 1939]
RR/70/89Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'A critical study of the Hopkinson pressure bar' by R M Davies8 April 1947
RR/68/19Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The scattering of neutrons by deuterons and the nature of nuclear forces' by R A Buckingham and Harrie Stewart Wilson Massey[1941]
RR/67/179Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Operator calculus in the electron theory of metals' by K FuchsApril 1940
RR/67/182Second referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'A thermodynamical theory of the tensile strength of isotropic bodies' by R FürthAugust 1940
RR/67/284Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The polarization of electrons by double scattering' by Harrie Stewart Wilson Massey and C B O MohrSeptember 1940
RR/67/181Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'A thermodynamical theory of the tensile strength of isotropic bodies' by R FürthMay 1940
RR/68/46Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Crystal theory of metals: calculation of the elastic constants' by Klaus Fuchs and H W Peng[1941]
RR/69/21Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Thermal scattering of X-rays by crystals - I. Dynamical foundation' by G H Begbie and Max Born1945
RR/69/238Referee's report by John Edward Lennard-Jones, on a paper 'Fragmentation of shell cases' by Nevill Francis Mott1945
RR/68/312Fourth letter to Nevill Francis Mott, regarding a paper 'Short period phosphorescence and electron traps' by G F J Garlick and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins10 May 1943
RR/68/386Letter to Nevill Francis Mott, regarding a paper 'A symptotic formulae relating to the physical theory of crystals' by Walter Ledermann19 August 1943
RR/68/385Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'A symptotic formulae relating to the physical theory of crystals' by Walter Ledermann6 August 1943
RR/68/400Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The scattering and polarization of fast electrons by heavy elements' by C B O Mohr1 April 1943
RR/72/227Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The inelastic scattering of protons by magnesium, aluminium and other light elements' by E H Rhoderick1949
RR/68/334Letter to Nevill Francis Mott, regarding a paper 'Short period phosphorescence and electron traps' by G F J Garlick and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins2 March 1944
RR/70/221Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The theory of the vibrations and the Roman spectrum of the diamond lattice' by Helen M J Smith24 January 1948
RR/68/423Letter from Nevill Francis Mott, to Alfred Charles Glyn Egerton, regarding a paper 'The electrical conductivity of stannous sulphide' by John Stuart Anderson and M C Morton10 August 1944
RR/68/424Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The electrical conductivity of stannous sulphide' by John Stuart Anderson and M C Morton[1944]
RR/71/42Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The refinement of atomic parameters by the technique known in X-ray crystallography as ‘the method of steepest descents’' by A D Booth[1948]
RR/71/31Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The calculation of the absolute strengths of spectral lines' by David Robert Bates and Agnete Damgaard[1948]
RR/72/187Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'An elastic theory of dislocations' by Elizabeth H Mann 1949
RR/70/195Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on three papers 'The surface impedance of superconductors and normal metals at high frequencies. Part I, II, and III' by A. B. Pippard1947
RR/70/141Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'An investigation, by the method of characteristics, of the lateral expansion of the gases behind a detonating slab of explosive' by R Hill and D C Pack11 May 1947
RR/65/179Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Dissociation, recombination and attachment processes in the upper atmosphere II. The rate of recombination' by Harrie Stewart Wilson Massey, David Robert Bates, R A Buckingham and J J UnwinOctober 1938
IM/GA/AR/7312Mott, Sir Nevill Francisnd
HWT/30/1Royal Society Education Committee1967
RR/66/129Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Coriolis perturbations in the methane spectrum. IV. Four general types of Coriolis perturbation' by H A Jahn[March 1939]
RR/59/48Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Heat conduction in a medium having thermal properties depending on the temperature' by P M Davidson and M R Hopkins[August 1936]
RR/62/50Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Calculated wave functions and energy values for X-ray terms of potassium' by W A Thatcher[October 1936]
RR/66/90Referee's report by Edward Neville da Costa Andrade, on a paper 'The mean free path of electrons in polar crystals' by Herbert Fröhlich and Nevill Francis Mott[April 1939]
RR/67/245Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The apparent sizes of atoms in metallic crystals with special reference to aluminium and indium, and the electronic state of magnesium' by William Hume-Rothery and Geoffrey Vincent RaynorSeptember 1940
RR/68/319Receipt from Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Short period phosphorescence and electron traps' by G F J Garlick and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins4 March 1944
RR/64/92Second referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The cascade theory of electronic showers' by Lev Davydovitch Landau and G Rumer[February 1938]
RR/62/60Second referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on two papers 'Some properties of the metallic state I—Metallic hydrogen and its alloys' and 'Some properties of the metallic state II—Metallic hydrogen and deuterium' by Alfred Rene Jean Paul Ubbelohde[January 1937]
EC/1936/11Mott, Sir Nevill Francis: certificate of election to the Royal Society
PB/1/33/2Correspondence concerning the Copley Medal of the Royal Society1956
RR/64/39Referee's report by Ronald George Wreyford Norrish, on a paper 'The theory of the photolysis of silver bromide and the photographic latent image' by R W Gurney and Nevill Francis Mott[November 1937]
RR/62/62Second referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'Some properties of the metallic state I—Metallic hydrogen and its alloys' by Alfred Rene Jean Paul Ubbelohde[December 1936]
RR/64/110Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The computation of Fermi-Dirac functions' by J McDougall and Edmund Clifton Stoner[April 1937]
RR/67/377Letter from J D Griffith Davies, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society on two papers 'Phosphorescence and electron traps - I. The study of trap distributions' and Phosphorescence and electron traps II. The interpretation of long-period phosphorescence' by John Turton Randall and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins to Nevill Francis Mott26 October 1943
RR/68/309Letter to Alfred Charles Glyn Egerton, from Nevill Francis Mott, regarding a paper 'Short period phosphorescence and electron traps' by G F J Garlick and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins19 November 1942
RR/68/302Letter from Nevill Francis Mott, to John David Griffith Davies, regarding a paper 'Short period phosphorescence and electron traps' by G F J Garlick and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins7 August 1942
RR/51/109Referee's report by Ralph Howard Fowler, on a paper 'The internal conversion of Y-rays. -II' by Harold McCarter Taylor and Nevill Francis Mott[May 1933]
RR/64/103Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The interaction of atoms and molecules with solid surfaces - X-The activation of adsorbed atoms by metallic electrons' by John Edward Lennard-Jones and E T Goodwin[August 1937]
RR/68/299Letter from Marcus Laurence Elwin Oliphant, to Nevill Francis Mott, regarding a paper 'Short period phosphorescence and electron traps' by G F J Garlick and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins2 November 1940
RR/68/307Second letter to Nevill Francis Mott, regarding a paper 'Short period phosphorescence and electron traps' by G F J Garlick and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins16 October 1942
RR/68/308Letter to Nevill Francis Mott, from Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins, regarding a paper 'Short period phosphorescence and electron traps' by G F J Garlick and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins9 November 1942
RR/64/91Referee's report by Nevill Francis Mott, on a paper 'The cascade theory of electronic showers' by Lev Davydovitch Landau and G Rumer[December 1937]
RR/68/300Letter from Nevill Francis Mott, regarding a paper 'Short period phosphorescence and electron traps' by G F J Garlick and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins1 August 1942
RR/68/310Third letter to Nevill Francis Mott, regarding a paper 'Short period phosphorescence and electron traps' by G F J Garlick and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins20 November 1942
RR/68/301Letter to Nevill Francis Mott, regarding a paper 'Short period phosphorescence and electron traps' by G F J Garlick and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins4 August 1942
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