Roy Chisholm (1926 - 2015)

​​Research Fellow at Glasgow (1951-54)

In 1951, I went to Glasgow as a Nuffield Research Fellow in Natural Philosophy, working under Professor John Gunn. My very lively and inventive colleague Dr Bruno Touschek suggested that virtual mesons might be the explanation of spin-orbit coupling in nuclei, and wanted to use my knowledge of Feynman's methods. We carried out a second-order calculation (ref 3) which showed that pseudoscalar mesons gave an effect of the right magnitude but wrong sign. Later, my student Ernest Laing showed that, by including self- energy terms, a more complex calculation gave the correct order of magnitude and sign for the spin-orbit coupling.

I also published a paper (ref 4) with Tony de Borde, on the fundamentals of statistical mechanics. On the basis of this work, we set about writing a student textbook on Statistical Mechanics, and approached Robert Maxwell of Pergamon Press about publication. We were pleased to have our proposal accepted, and I visited Maxwell in London to discuss the contract. He was most pleasant, and spent an hour making sure that I understood every clause in the contract. Tony de Borde and I went through the contract carefully, and thought it very reasonable, so we signed. All was well until we found that, on overseas sales, we received 3.33% royalties instead of the 6.67% that we had expected - but this was perfectly legal. We had to console ourselves with the thought that the book (booklist 1) did not sell very well anyway!

Monty and I were married in the summer of 1953, and she came north to share the freezing fog of the Glasgow winter, and to experience teaching in some poor areas of Scotland. I had no guarantee of employment beyond the summer of 1954, but I was fortunate to land one of the few University appointments that came up in 1954, in a very congenial College in an attractive part of the country.