Sir Nevill Francis Mott (September 30, 1905 – August 8, 1996) was a British physicist. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1977, sharing the award with Philip W. Anderson and J. H. Van Vleck, who had pursued independent research.

Early life

He was born in Leeds and was educated at Clifton College in Bristol and St. John's College, Cambridge.

Academic career

He was appointed to a lecturership at Manchester University in 1929. He returned to Cambridge in 1930 as a Fellow and lecturer of Gonville and Caius College and in 1933 moved to Bristol University as Melville Wills Professor in Theoretical Physics.

In 1948 he became Henry Overton Wills Professor of Physics and Director of the Henry Herbert Wills Physical Laboratory at Bristol. In 1954 he was appointed Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge, a post he held until 1971. Additionally he served as Master of Gonville and Caius College, 1959-1966.


Mott's accomplishments include explaining theoretically the effect of light on a photographic emulsion (see latent image) and outlining the transition of substances from metallic to nonmetallic states (Mott transition). The term Mott insulator is also named after him.

Nevill Mott was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1936. Mott served as president of the Physical Society in 1957. In the early 1960s he was chairman of the British Pugwash group. He was knighted in 1962. He continued to work until he was about ninety. He was made a Companion of Honour in 1995.


He was married to Ruth Eleanor Horder, and had two daughters, Elizabeth and Alice.

He died in Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire.


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