Waterford's Ernest Thomas Walton: The Father of Atomic Energy

A widely respected, much admired, modest, unassuming Irishman played a major role in the development of Atomic Energy. It could be argued that this man’s role in the development of Nuclear physics was so groundbreaking and historic, that several years later, it led directly to the invention of the first Atomic bomb.

A religious man, who was raised as a Methodist, has been described as someone who was strongly committed to the Christian faith. He always encouraged the progress of science as a way to know more about God:

"One way to learn the mind of the Creator is to study His creation. We must pay God the compliment of studying His work of art and this should apply to all realms of human thought. A refusal to use our intelligence honestly is an act of contempt for Him who gave us that intelligence."

The epiphany descended upon this man as he pondered Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. He grasped the importance of the theory immediately and agreed with and fully understood it. He believed that if the smallest particle of matter, the atom, could be further reduced in size, it would create such a huge force of energy which could then be harnessed and utilized for the betterment of mankind.

Now everything that the universe has to offer is possible!

Ernest Thomas Walton was born in Abbeyside, County Waterford, Ireland, to a Methodist minister father, Rev. John Walton (1874–1936) and Anna Sinton (1874–1906). In those days a general clergyman's family moved once every three years, and this practice carried Ernest and his family, while he was a small child, to Rathkeale in County Limerick, where his mother died) and to County Monaghan. He attended day schools in counties Down, Tyrone and Wesley College, Dublin before becoming a boarder at Methodist College, Belfast in 1915, where he excelled in science and mathematics.

‘Just think of all the wonderful things we will now be able to accomplish for mankind!’


Sadly, Walton could not have known at the time, that his discovery would be used by some to build weapons of mass destruction. JAB

Read more here:


Books for Sale:

Don’t Die with Regrets: Ireland and the Lessons my Father Taught Me.


The Journey: A Nomad Reflects.



Views: 569

Tags: Atomic, Energy, History, Inventions, Irish

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Comment by That's Just How It Was on October 12, 2015 at 9:40am

Another nice article 

Comment by John Anthony Brennan on October 12, 2015 at 10:15am

Thank you again.


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