Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett (1897-1974), later Lord Blackett, became a world famous physicist, and the author of a number of scholarly books. He was the son of a member of the London stock exchange and was a great-nephew of Edmund Thomas Blacket (see Architecture).
After distinguished service in the Royal Navy in World War I, he went on to obtain a Fellowship at King’s College, Cambridge. He worked as an experimental physicist in the laboratory of Professor Rutherford, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1948. Before World War II he was a leading member of the Committee for the Study of Air Defence, the first Operations Research team in the world. It became known as “Blackett’s Circus”. He did important work in cosmic ray research and rock magnetism, and from 1942 to 1945 he was Director of Operational Research with the British Admiralty. He was made President of The Royal Society in 1965, and was created Baron Blackett of Chelsea in 1969. There is a Blackett Memorial Hall at Manchester University, and a Blackett wing at Imperial College, London. Blackett Crater on the moon (see A Lunar Blackett) is named after him.
In 2013 “Blackett’s War” by Stephen Budianski was published, detailing the contributions to the war effort made by Patrick Blackett and his scientific colleagues in the early 1940s.
A lighthearted animation outlining the life of Lord Blackett was produced in 2017 by the Operational Research Society and can be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.
Lord Blackett was the 9th cousin of Evelyn Georgiana Mary Balfour, wife of John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1904. Like Lord Blackett, a crater on the moon is named after him, as is an asteroid and a crater on Mars.