Books  General Natural History  History of Science 

Crystal Clear: The Autobiographies of Sir Lawrence and Lady Bragg

Biography / Memoir
Clearly written account of two key historical figures in the 19th-20th centuries
Provides insight into the life and times of two very different personalities
Reveals many details hitherto unpublished
Includes many sketches and photographs pertaining to the Braggs

By: A Mike Glazer (Author), Patience Thomson (Author)

448 pages, 70 b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press

Hardback | Jul 2015 | #223044 | ISBN-13: 9780198744306
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £34.99 $43/€39 approx

About this book

Crystal Clear takes you behind the scenes in the life of one of the most prominent scientists of the twentieth century, William Lawrence Bragg (WLB) – an innovative genius, who together with his father, William Henry Bragg (WHB) founded and developed a whole new branch of science, X-ray Crystallography. The main body of the text contains the hitherto unpublished autobiographies of both WLB and his wife, Alice. Alice Bragg was a public figure in her own right. She was Mayor of Cambridge and National Chairman of the Marriage Guidance Council among other roles. She and WLB were as different as chalk and cheese. Their autobiographies complement each other to give a rounded picture of the real personalities behind their public appearance. They write of their travels, their family life, their friends and their joys and sorrows. They write most of all about each other.

Their younger daughter, Patience Thomson, provides anecdotes and vignettes, bringing her parents to life. She has also included extracts from previously unpublished letters and from articles which Alice Bragg wrote for National newspapers. The result is an unusual insight into the lives of two distinguished people. The two accounts reveal a fascinating interaction between these two characters, neither of whom could have achieved on this scale without the other. There is an underlying love story here which humanises and transforms. This is a unique book, adopting an original viewpoint, which will take the reader far beyond the scope of a normal biography.


1: Patience Thomson: Meet my Mother and Father
2: William Lawrence Bragg: William Lawrence Bragg (in his own words)
3: Alice Grace Jenny Bragg: Alice Grace Jenny Bragg "The half was not told"

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Patience Thomson is the daughter of William Lawrence Bragg and Alice Grace Jenny Bragg. She is the Co-Founder and former Chairman of the publishing company Barrington Stoke, producing books for less able readers. Previously she was Principle of Fairley House School in London, UK.

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