E. J. Bowen

E. J. Bowen books and biography


E. J. Bowen

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Edmund John Bowen FRS (1898–1981) was a British chemist. Born in Worcester, E. J. Bowen attended the Royal Grammar School Worcester. He won the Brackenbury Scholarship in 1915 and 1916 to Oxford University where he studied chemistry. He returned to Balliol College after serving in World War I and in 1922 became a Fellow of University College, Oxford. At University College he served as Domestic Bursar and as Junior Proctor of the University in 1936.

Created a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1935 for his research into fluorescence, he was awarded the Davy Medal in 1963. He wrote a famous book called The Chemical Aspects of Light. He was President of the Faraday Society and Vice-President of the Chemical Society.

Most of Bowen's work was carried out at the Trinity and Balliol College Laboratories. His 1966 Liversedge Lecture on Fluorescence was based on his life's research. On retirement he became an Honorary Fellow of University College and was one of the longest serving Fellows of that college (43 years as an ordinary Fellow and a total of 59 years). There is a room in the college named after him. He was also a prominent Worcester Old Elizabethan serving on its Committee for many years and organizing the Oxford branch of that club.

It is interesting to note that at five generations of supervisor back from Bowen one will find Bunsen and at ten generations back, Lavoisier. Bowen lived for most of his working life in Park Town and is buried in Wolvercote Cemetery, north of Oxford.

See also

  • Cyril Norman Hinshelwood, a contemporary Oxford physical chemist
  • Bowen's son, Humphry Bowen, another chemist
  • His successor at University College, John Albery

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