The Rest of the Story 3
Harry was born and raised in England and attended the best schools. After excelling at Summer Fields School, he won a King’s Scholarship to Eton College — the famous boarding school that produced twenty British Prime Ministers — where he won prizes in chemistry and physics. In 1906 he entered Trinity College at the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and four years later he graduated with his bachelor’s degree.
Next Harry went to the University of Manchester, where he worked with the famous physicist Ernest Rutherford. In just a few short years his research flourished and he made amazing discoveries. Rutherford recommended Harry for a faculty position back at Oxford. He might have taken the job, but after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo in June 1914, the world blundered into World War I.
Like many English boys of his generation, Harry volunteered for the army. He joined the Royal Engineers, where he could use his technical skills as a telecommunications officer to support the war effort. Millions of English soldiers were sent to fight in France, where the war soon bogged down into trench warfare.
First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill devised a plan to break the deadlock. England would attack the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. If the navy could fight their way through the Dardanelles, they could take Constantinople, reach the Black Sea, unite with their ally Russia, and attack the “soft underbelly” of Europe. Harry was assigned to the expeditionary force for the Gallipoli campaign.
The plan was sound, but the execution failed; the navy could not force the narrows. The army landed on the tip of the peninsula and immediately settled into trench warfare like in France. There in Gallipoli, on August 10, 1915, a Turkish sniper shot and killed 27-year-old Second Lieutenant Henry Moseley-known as Harry to his boyhood friends.
Isaac Asimov wrote that Moseley’s demise “might well have been the most costly single death of the War to mankind.” Moseley’s research using x-rays to identify and order the elements in the periodic table by atomic number was revolutionary. He almost certainly would have received a Nobel Prize if that honor were awarded posthumously.
And now you know the REST OF THE STORY. Good Day!
This blog entry was written in the style of Paul Harvey’s radio show “The Rest of the Story.” My February 5, 2016 and March 12, 2021 entries were also in this style. Homework Problem 3 in Chapter 16 of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology explores Moseley’s work. Learn more about Henry Moseley in my March 16, 2012 blog entry.
Originally published at http://hobbieroth.blogspot.com.