Chronology 1950-1959


  • Extracts from College Annual Report 1950/1951. (Word, PDF, ODT)
  • A novel design of miniature helium liquefier developed by Dr G.O. Jones and Mr P.F. Chester and built by Mr A.G. Baldock.  
    Miniature helium liquifier
    This produced temperatures within a degree or two of absolute zero and, with it, the Department became one of the few in the world in which experiments could be conducted at such low temperatures. Other low-temperature laboratories around the world were based on large central helium liquefiers, from which litres of liquid helium were decanted into cryostat vessels and transferred to separate pieces of apparatus in which experiments were conducted. In this Department in 1955 there were, instead, a dozen or so miniature refrigerators of the type shown here, each supporting an independent researcher. Only about 0.1 litres of liquid helium would be made in such a refrigerator, for in situ experiments; it took a few hours to make sufficient liquid hydrogen in the upper can and liquid helium in the bottom can, to hold for several more hours for an experiment. By adopting this approach, G.O. Jones was able to build a department of low-temperature physics of international standing in a remarkably short time and for remarkably little expenditure. By 1960, when the Department moved into its present building, its repute secured the substantial funds necessary for the purchase of a large central liquefier and a liquid-helium distribution system.


  • Extracts from College Annual Report 1951/1952. (Word, PDF, ODT)
  • A College Physical Society was formed to arrange talks and visits to research laboratories.  
    Physical Society badge


  • Extracts from College Annual Report 1952/1953. (Word, PDF, ODT)  
    Staff and Research Students 1952
    Departmental Staff and Research Students - Christmas 1952. back row: Pam Russel, E.F. Puplett, R.F. Keating, D.L. Martin, ???, Figgins;
    third row: F.D. Stacey, A.J. Manuel, P.F. Chester, W. Sparkes, ???, Hulbert, Bransden;
    second row: Dr R.O. Davies, Dr J. Pride, Mrs R. Hunter, Doreen, M. Brown, H. Saffrey, B. Burton, E. Baldock, W. Eagers, Dr E.R. Dobbs;
    front row: Dr J.R. Barker, Dr E.J. Irons, Dr G.O. Jones, Prof H.R. Robinson, Dr R.K. Eisenschitz, Dr J.W. Leech, Dr R. Heastie.


  • Extracts from College Annual Report 1953/1954. (Word, PDF, ODT)
  • Professor G.O. Jones appointed Head of Department.  
    Professor GO Jones, born 28 March 1917, Physicist
and Author
    1917 - 2006
    "G.O." joined Queen Mary in 1949. In October 1953 he took over as Head of Department and began a period of expansion that was to see the Department change beyond recognition. Himself a distinguished low-temperature physicist, Jones saw the need to expose students to, and to conduct fundamental research into, the blossoming subjects of astrophysics and particle physics. This cannot have been an easy decision; it would have been painless to concentrate on the existing research fields of condensed matter, magnetism and cryogenic physics and leave the new, expensive and esoteric physics of the very large and the very small to others. His influence on the design of the new physics building was pervasive. Jones brought Alick Ashmore, later Director of SERC's Daresbury Laboratory, to Queen Mary to lead the research into elementary particles; he brought too, John Bastin, FRAS, who founded the astrophysics research group. Bastin was one of the privileged investigators of lunar samples returned by the Apollo missions. (Indeed Queen Mary's Physics Department holds the rare distinction of having had two scientists, studying different aspects of the lunar samples, on the staff at the same time.) With Jones himself active in solid state physics, and a school of rigorous theoretical physics led by Eisenschitz, Queen Mary established its reputation as a moderately-sized Department conducting high-quality research into fundamental physics on a great variety of scales. The problems investigated demanded ever more refined techniques of measurement and analysis. The result has been the development of advanced materials, detector systems and computational methods which find applications far beyond the areas of fundamental physics which motivated them. He resigned in 1968 to become Director of the National Museum of Wales. JONES, Gwyn Owain, CBE 1978; MA, DSc Oxon; PhD Sheffield; Director, National Museum of Wales, 1968 -77;
    Educ: Monmouth School; Port Talbot Secondary School; Jesus College, Oxford (Meyricke Scholar).
    Glass Delegacy Research Fellow of University of Sheffield, later member of academic staff, 1939 - 1941;
    Member of UK Government's Atomic Energy project, 1942 - 1946;
    Nuffield Foundation Research Fellow at Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford, 1946 - 1949;
    Reader in Experimental Physics in University of London, at Queen Mary College, 1949 - 1953;
    Professor of Physics in University of London, and Head of Dept of Physics at Queen Mary College, 1953 - 1968;
    Hon. Fellow of Queen Mary and Westfield (formerly Queen Mary) College Visiting Professor University of Sussex, 1964; died 3rd July 2006.
    Member: Court and Council, UWIST, 1968 - 1974; Court, University College, Swansea, 1981 - 1984;
    Hon Professorial Fellow, University Coll., Cardiff 1969 - 1979. Yr Academi Gynircig (English Language Section) 1971 (Chrn., 1978 - 1981); Gorsedd y Beirdd (Aelod er Anrhydedd) 1974. Governor, Commonwealth Institute, 1974 - 1977. FMA 1976.
    • Publications: Glass, 1956; (in collab.) Atoms and the Universe, 1956; papers on solid-state, glass, low-temperature physics;
    • novels: The Catalyst, 1960; Personal File, 1962; Now 1965; A Close Family. 1998; story sequence: The Conjuring Show, 1981.

    Who's Who

  • March - Death of Her Majesty Queen Mary, Patron of the College.  
    Dinner menu from retirement of HR Robinson


  • Extracts from College Annual Report 1954/1955. (Word, PDF, ODT)
  • May - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became Patron of the College.
  • Professor HR Robinson admitted as a Fellow of the College.


  • Extracts from College Annual Report 1955/1956. (Word, PDF, ODT)  


  • Extracts from College Annual Report 1956/1957. (Word, PDF, ODT)
  • A Philips liquid air machine, a gift of the Drapers Company, was installed making the low-temperature laboratories independent of industrial sources of refrigerant.  
    Philips air liquefier
    Clerk of the Drapers company, Sir Thomas Creed [The Principal], The Master of the Drapers Company, The Vice-Chairman of the Governors with the new Philips air Liquefier.
  • January - Two day Physical Society Crystal Dynamics Conference organised by Professor Jones.
  • Publication of Glass by Professor G.O. Jones.
  • Publication of Atoms and the Universe by Professor G.O. Jones, with J. Rotblat and G.J. Whitrow.


  • Extracts from College Annual Report 1957/1958. (Word, PDF, ODT)  


  • Extracts from College Annual Report 1958/1959. (Word, PDF, ODT)
  • December - Digging the first sod for the new physics building on the site of St Benet's church  
    Digging the first sod ceremony
    Katy Jones digging the first sod
  • Publication of Classical Mechanics by Dr John Leech  
    "Classical Mechanics", JW Leech, Methuen, 1965


Staff and Research Students 1959
New building construction, 12 March 1959
Stage I of the new building gets under way
  • April - A Joint meeting of the British Radio Frequency Spectroscopy Group and the Groupement A.M.P.E.R.E. organised by Dr. Powles was held in the College over three days. It was attended by over two hundred scientists. This was the first time the A.M.P.E.R.E. Group held a conference outside France.