Sunday, June 17, 2007

Starlight Over Rayleigh.

On June 1st this year Minor Planet 22740 was named "Rayleigh" - my home town!

Why is it called Rayleigh? It was named after the scientist John William Strutt, who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1904 and became the 3rd Baron Rayleigh. He wasn’t made a lord for his scientific work, he simply came from an aristocratic family. In fact Lord Rayleigh is described on the Nobel website as “one of the very few members of higher nobility who won fame as an outstanding scientist.”

And why was Lord Rayleigh called Lord Rayleigh? Because his grandmother was the first Baroness Rayleigh, and she lived elesewhere in Essex and chose the title “Rayleigh”, apparently because Rayleigh was a respectable place to be named after and that “Baroness Rayleigh” sounded good.

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