Charles Glover Barkla plaque commemoration

Barkla family members, City of Edinburgh Council representatives, Hermitage of Braid friends and University colleagues attended an unveiling of a plaque located at Hermitage House to commemorate Noble Laureate Charles Glover Barkla.

Charles Barkla lived in Hermitage House, which is set within the Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill Local Nature Reserve, from 1922 to 1938.  The house was built in 1785 and the style reflects the old Braid Castle thought to have been in what is now known as Midmar Paddock at the end of Hermitage Drive.

Charles Barkla took up the Chair in Natural Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh in 1913.  Barkla's most significant research centred around the physics of X-rays. Along with C. A. Sadler, he was the first to demonstrate that X-rays consist of waves oscillating in different planes that can be separated. This discovery transformed our understanding of X-rays, showing that they have similar properties to light and hence aided the development of the theory of Quantum Mechanics – one of the key planks of modern physics.

His most significant work was on the characteristic X-ray emitting properties of the chemical elements, which won him a Nobel Prize in 1917.