William Barlow (geologist)

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William Barlow FRS[1] (8 August 1845 – 28 February 1934) was an English amateur geologist specialising in crystallography.[1][2][3]

He was born in Islington, in London, England, his father became wealthy as a speculative builder as well as a building surveyor, allowing William to have a private education. After his father died in 1875, William and his brother inherited this fortune, allowing him to pursue his interest in crystallography without a need to labour for a living.

William examined the forms of crystalline structures, and deduced that there were only 230 forms of symmetrical crystal arrangements, known as space groups, his results were published in 1894,[4] after they had been independently announced by Evgraf Fedorov and Arthur Schönflies, although his approach did display some novelty. His structural models of simple compounds such as NaCl and CsCl were later confirmed using X-ray crystallography.

He served as the president of the English Mineralogical Society from 1915 until 1918.[5]

He died in Great Stanmore, Middlesex, England.

Awards and honours[edit]


  1. ^ a b Pope, W. J. (1935). "William Barlow. 1845-1934". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 1 (4): 367. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1935.0001.
  2. ^ Morgan, G. T.; Pope, W. J.; Challinor, R. W.; Raper, H. S.; Dorée, C.; Lauder, A.; Mair, W.; Campbell, A. F.; Haworth, W. N.; Salt, C.; Grieb, C. M. W.; Mann, H. H.; Kendall, J.; Brady, O. L.; Mills, W. H. (1935). "Obituary notices". Journal of the Chemical Society (Resumed): 1327. doi:10.1039/JR9350001327.
  3. ^ Tandy, P. (2004). "William Barlow (1845–1934): Speculative builder, man of leisure and inspired crystallographer". Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 115: 77–83. doi:10.1016/S0016-7878(76)80049-1.
  4. ^ W. Barlow (1894) "Über die Geometrischen Eigenschaften homogener starrer Strukturen und ihre Anwendung auf Krystalle" [On the geometrical properties of homogeneous rigid structures and their application to crystals], Zeitschrift für Krystallographie und Minerologie, vol. 23, pages 1–63.
  5. ^ http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/gsl/op/edi%3C/info/collections/archives/page5148.html
  6. ^ http://www.mindat.org/min-40276.html