The Innovation Showcase – 18th March
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George Clarkson Kaye

Kaye played a leading role in protecting workers from the harmful effects of radiation.

George Clarkson Kaye

1880 – 1941

Kaye played a leading role in protecting workers from the harmful effects of radiation


George Kaye was born in Yorkshire and educated at Liverpool University and the Royal College of Science. After obtaining a physics degree with first-class honours, he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, as a research student and then a sub-lector.

Kaye entered the field of atomic physics and became interested in radiation. He published a book entitled X-rays in 1914 but it was his previous publication in 1911, Tables of Physical and Chemical Constants, for which he is best remembered.

In the same year, Kaye had joined the Metrology Department at NPL. He later transferred to the Physics Department where he was in charge of radium testing.

After the First World War, he became a member of the National Radium Commission, which controlled the care and distribution of radium. In these days the dangers of X-rays for workers were unclear, and urgent scientific enquiry into the problems of protection against X-ray injuries was needed.

Kaye had a long and active connection with radiology; throughout the 1920s and 1930s he played a leading role in preparing recommendations for international agreements in this field.

(Image credit: © National Portrait Gallery, London. George William Clarkson Kaye by Walter Stoneman)