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Basil Schonland

Basil Ferdinand Jamieson Schonland, South African physicist (Grahamstown, Cape Colony 01 February 1896 – Winchester, Hampshire 24 November 1972)

Son of botanist Selmar Schonland and grandson of botanist Peter MacOwan

Considered as world’s greatest authority on lightning

Studied electric fields under thunderclouds

Elucidated the complex nature of the lightning flash and the time-sequence of its component strokes

Unravelled the complex sequence of events in the flash and correlated with the measurements of electric field changes at ground level

First showed that a flash consist of several strokes and measured the time interval between them

With D.J. Malan & H. Collens established a pattern of flash sequences of strokes now universally accepted (1935)

First linked radio atmospherics with lightning (1935)

Explained why spires and towers are more vulnerable to be struck by lightning

A new electroscope. Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc. 25:340, 1929

With P.G. Gane. A lightning flash counter. Trans. S. A. I. I. I. 38:119, 1947

With P.G. Gane. The ceraunometer. Weather, June 1948

With D.J. Malan. An electrostatic flux meter of short response-time for use in the study of transient field-changes. Proc. Phys. Soc. B 63:402, 1950