Henry Mosley

Early Life

Henry was born in Weymouth, Dorset, on the southwestern coast of England on November 23, 1887.

his father was a biologist and also a professor of anatomy and physiology at the University of Oxford

He belonged to a rich, aristocratic, and scientifically accomplished family

He soon toke a interest in Learning, science, and zoology

His Discoverys

In 1913, while working at the University of Manchester, Moseley observed and measured the X-ray spectra of various chemical elements obtained by diffraction in crystals.

With the knowledge of how this X-ray spectra's worked he discovered a systematic relation between wavelength and atomic number. This discovery is now known as the Moseley’s law.

Before his finding, atomic numbers had been thought of as an arbitrary number, based on sequence of atomic weights. Moseley also predicted a number of missing elements and their periodic numbers in the Periodic Table.

His Death

Sometime in the first half of 1914, Moseley resigned from his position at Manchester, with plans to return to Oxford and continue his physics research there. However, World War I broke out in August 1914, and Moseley turned down this job offer to enlist in the Royal Engineers of the British Army instead. Moseley served as a technical officer in communications during the Battle of Gallipoli, in Turkey, beginning in April 1915, where he was killed in action on 10 August 1915. Moseley was shot in the head by a Turkish sniper while in the act of telephoning a military order. "His death was that it might well have been the most costly single death of the War to mankind generally".

Henry Moseley's research career lasted only forty months before tragically ending with his death on a Gallipoli battlefield in World War I. But in his classic study of the x-ray spectra of elements, he established the truly scientific basis of the Periodic Table by arranging chemical elements in the order of their atomic numbers.

He contributed a lot towards the science of physics through his research. Many scientists believe that if Moseley had survived a bit longer he would have contributed a great deal to the knowledge of atomic structure and also earned the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Interesting Facts About his life

  • Birthday- November 23rd 1887
  • Father- Henry Nottidge Moseley
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Occupation- Physicist/Engineer
  • Rank in Military- Officer of Engineers
  • Colleges Attended- Eton College; Trinity College; University of Manchester; Oxford University





Chemistry Explained


  • Website Title: Henry Moseley
  • Article Title: Chemistry Explained
  • Date Accessed: October 15, 2014
  • Electronically Published
  • Authors Unknown


Heilbron, J. L. (1966). "The Work of H. G. J. Moseley." Isis 57:336–366.

Heilbron, J. L. (1974). H. G. J. Moseley: The Life and Letters of an English Physicist, 1887–1915. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Jaffe, Bernard (1971). Moseley and the Numbering of the Elements. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

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