15 Nov 2017

University of Leeds integrated science campus to honour Sir William Henry Bragg

The University of Leeds is to name the £96 million integrated campus for engineering and physical sciences building designed by ADP, in honour of Sir William Henry Bragg, one of Leeds’ most influential scientists.

Sir William Henry Bragg won the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics with his son Sir William Lawrence Bragg, for the development of X-ray crystallography.

Their work revolutionised science by allowing researchers to examine the atomic structure of materials in detail for the first time.

Now the Sir William Henry Bragg Building will form a key part of the new developments on campus, which together with the Bragg Research Centre, which recognises both father and son, will bring researchers together to create a critical mass in ground-breaking interdisciplinary research and impact.

Combining fundamental scientific discovery and research-led teaching with applied science and engineering activities to support industry is one of the key aims of largest single-project investment ever to be made on campus.

The University has a breadth of research expertise across the fields of engineering, chemistry, computing, physics and astronomy.

To help strengthen the culture of interdisciplinary working, the new Sir William Henry Bragg Building will link the School of Chemistry’s facilities with the Faculty of Engineering and incorporate a new home for the School of Computing and School of Physics and Astronomy.

Relatives of the Braggs have given the University their support for the name of the Sir William Henry Bragg Building and the Bragg Research Centre, which will house the University’s Royce Institute facilities.

Charles Bragg, a chemist and former head of UK Research and Development at Procter and Gamble, said Sir William “had a passion for advancing the cause of the University and its work with industry and the broader community which this building will continue to take forward."

He said: “His research was in physics, but X-ray crystallography has proved equally important for chemistry, biology and materials sciences, and so fits well with the building's broad inter-disciplinary intent."

He added: “Sir William always took a keen interest in more junior researchers, working with his son as an undergraduate and graduate at Cambridge, and attracting young talented researchers and equipment specialists to Leeds; this co-operation will be an important part of the ethos of the new building and the Bragg Research Centre."

Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, said: “Naming our new building after Sir William Henry Bragg is in recognition of his tremendous achievements and our great admiration and respect for him in Leeds.

“The Braggs’ legacy is felt in all of our lives. The medical ultrasound device that produces pictures of your baby, the fuel injectors in cars, the SONAR used in submarines, to take just a few examples, all rely on materials developed using X-ray crystallography.

“Adopting the Bragg name will also set a marker for the standard of research and global impact we expect to produce. It is increasingly important that our fundamental scientific breakthroughs are translated into real world usage.”

The building is due for completion in Spring 2020.