Edward Neville da Costa Andrade (1887-1971)

Biography of Edward Neville da Costa Andrade

  • Edward Neville da Costa Andrade presenting the 1950 CHRISTMAS LECTURES

    Edward Neville da Costa Andrade presenting the 1950 CHRISTMAS LECTURES on 'Waves and vibrations’.

    Credit: Royal Institution


Ri positions

  • Fullerian Professor of Chemistry, 1950-1952
  • Superintendent of the House, 1950-1952
  • Director of the Davy-Faraday Research Laboratory, 1950-1952

Born in London, he attended St. Dunstan's College, Catford, and studied physics at University College London. He stayed at UCL to do research, where he found his long-term interest in metal flow. In 1911 he moved to the University of Heidelberg where he worked with Philipp Lenard, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. In 1913 he went to Manchester to work with another pioneering physicist, Ernest Rutherford, on gamma rays.

During the Great War he was an officer in the Royal Garrison Artillery serving in France. In 1920 he was appointed Professor of Physics at the Ordnance College in Woolwich and in 1928 returned to UCL as Quain Professor of Physics which he held until he came to the RI. During the 1939-1945 war he worked for the Ministry of Supply.

Although apparently ideally suited to the lead the Royal Institution, he quickly fell out with the Managers which resulted in the Members of the Royal Institution passing a vote of no confidence in him in mid-1952 causing his resignation. In 1957 he was appointed a Senior Research Fellow at Imperial College London. Besides his research, Andrade was a popular science writer and broadcaster.


The Ri holds a small amount of material relating to Andrade's time as Superintendent of the House and Director of the DFRL in the Admin archive papers.