Karl George Emeléus (1901-1989) and physics in Belfast 1927-1966

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Karl George Emeléus was educated at Cambridge and after a short period at King’s College, London, he spent the remainder of his career as lecturer (1929-33) and then professor (1933-66) of physics at Queen’s University, Belfast. At Queen’s he set the direction of experimental research (gas discharge and plasmas) for a generation and oversaw the growth of the department. He also acted as a spokesman for physics in Northern Ireland and was involved in public responses to concerns about the use of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy in the late 1940s and 1950s. This paper summarises Emeléus’s life and work and sets it in the context of physics at Queen’s University in the mid-twentieth century.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages40
JournalPhysics in Perspective
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Apr 2024


  • history of physics
  • Belfast
  • Cavendish Laboratory
  • plasmas
  • nuclear weapons
  • cold war


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