Rugby's famous names

Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer - discoverer of helium

Lockyer was born in Rugby in 1836. He was a keen amateur astronomer with a particular interest in the Sun.

He is credited with the discovery of the gas helium in 1868, together with French scientist Pierre Janssen.

Both men had observed a prominent yellow line in a spectrum taken near the edge of the sun - and Lockyer suggested an unknown solar element was the cause.

He named the element helium after the Greek word 'helios' - meaning sun.

Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer also founded and edited the influential journal Nature.

Surely in metereology, as in astronomy, the thing to hunt down is a cycle... If there be no cycle, then despair for a time if you will, but yet plant firmly your science on a physical basis and wait for results."