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Sir John was Churchill College's first Master, from 1959 to 1967. Less well known is his role in bringing Churchill College into being in response to Sir Winston's vision of the UK's need for more scientists and engineers. Before his involvement with Churchill College it is no exaggeration to say he had become a famous and highly respected scientist, especially in Great Britain and the USA. This stemmed from his 'splitting the atom' with Walton in 1932, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1951 plus his work on the development of nuclear energy in the war and afterwards. Less well known is role in the development of air defence radar in WWII, including his then top secret appointment as deputy head of the Tizard Mission to the USA in 1940. During WWI he served as a Private in the Royal Field Artillery and so experienced the full horrors of life in the trenches.
The seminar at St John's provides and opportunity to learn more about his remarkable life and how the legacies of his work still shape particle and nuclear physics to this day.