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Gustave Adolphe Hemsalech Papers

Date range: 1850s–1920s.

Gustave Adolphe Hemsalech, physicist, was born in Lodz, Poland, on 25 May 1875.

He moved to England in 1892, and from 1895 to 1898 was a student of Sir Arthur Schuster at the Physical Laboratories at Owens College, becoming a British citizen in 1897. The following year he moved to Paris to study for a doctorate at the Sorbonne. His thesis was on Recherches expérimentales sur les spectres d’étincelles (‘Experimental researches into the spectra of sparks’), 1901.

He returned to England, working briefly for British Westinghouse in Manchester, and holding an honorary research fellowship at the University, 1903–1904; he was awarded a M.Sc. in 1906. From 1905 until 1914 Hemsalech was on the staff of the physical laboratory at the Sorbonne, before taking up a research fellowship at the University of Manchester, which he held from 1915 until c.1921. His specialism was the study of the spectra or light radiation emitted by metallic vapours under thermoelectric and thermochemical processes. He died in 1936.

The collection comprises a large number of letters and cards from fellow physicists and astrophysicists in Britain, France, Germany and the United States, including John August Anderson, Henri Becquerel, Niels Bohr, Arnaud de Gramont, Arthur S. King, Gabriel Lippmann, William Lockyer, Ernest Rutherford, Arthur Schuster and Charles de Watteville.

There are also a few photographs, offprints of articles by Hemsalech, papers relating to his naturalization, hand-written notes on his academic work, and some earlier Hemsalech family papers from the second half of the nineteenth century.

The collection was donated to the Library in 2000 by Elizabeth Anderson and Edward Mason, children of Mr William Mattock Mason, a Skipton businessman and keen amateur scientist, who purchased the papers from the Hemsalech Estate.

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