J D Bernal's x-ray diffraction camera, United Kingdom, 1928

Made:
1928
maker:
Unknown

Oscillation-rotation x-ray diffraction camera (believed to be the first constructed in Great Britain). Used by Professor Bernal.

John Desmond Bernal (1901-71), an Irish physicist, used this X-ray diffraction camera at the Royal Institution in London. When X-rays are passed through crystals they scatter to create a pattern that can be used to determine the structures of molecules. Known today as X-ray crystallography, it was a crucial technique used to understand the structure of penicillin, DNA and insulin. Bernal was also interested in the social function of science and wrote widely on the history of science.

On display

Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

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Details

Category:
Experimental Chemistry
Object Number:
1963-44/7
type:
x-ray diffraction camera
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • scientific equipment
credit:
The Royal Institution

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