John Viriamu Jones

John Viriamu Jones

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John Viriamu Jones, FRS (2 January 1856
1856 in Wales
This article is about the particular significance of the year 1856 to Wales and its people.-Incumbents:*Prince of Wales — The Prince Albert Edward, son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom*Princess of Wales — vacant-Events:...

 – 1 June 1901
1901 in Wales
This article is about the particular significance of the year 1901 to Wales and its people.-Incumbents:*Prince of Wales — The Prince Edward Albert, son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom ; The Prince George, son of the preceding Prince of Wales *Princess of Wales — Alexandra of Denmark ; Mary...

), was a British scientist, who worked on measuring the ohm
Ohm
The ohm is the SI unit of electrical resistance, named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm.- Definition :The ohm is defined as a resistance between two points of a conductor when a constant potential difference of 1 volt, applied to these points, produces in the conductor a current of 1 ampere,...

, and an educationalist who was instrumental in establishing the University of Sheffield
University of Sheffield
The University of Sheffield is a research university based in the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. It is one of the original 'red brick' universities and is a member of the Russell Group of leading research intensive universities...

 and Cardiff University
Cardiff University
Cardiff University is a leading research university located in the Cathays Park area of Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. It received its Royal charter in 1883 and is a member of the Russell Group of Universities. The university is consistently recognised as providing high quality research-based...

.

Early life and studies


John Viriamu Jones was born on 2 January 1856 in Pentrepoeth in Swansea
Swansea
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

, the third of the six children of Thomas Jones, a celebrated Independent clergyman, and Jane Jones. He was named after the missionary and martyr John Williams - 'Viriamu' being the Erromanga for "Williams". His older siblings were David Brynmor
David Brynmor Jones
Sir David Brynmor Jones was a British barrister, historian and Liberal Member of Parliament.David Brynmor Jones was born in 1851 in Swansea, the first of the six children of Revd. Thomas Jones, a Congregationalist minister, and Jane Jones. His younger siblings were Annie, John Viriamu Jones Sir...

 (b. 1851) and Annie; his younger brothers were Irvonwy, Leifchild Stratten
Leifchild Jones, 1st Baron Rhayader
Leifchild Stratten Leif-Jones, 1st Baron Rhayader PC , known as Leif Jones before his elevation to the peerage in 1932, was a British Temperance movement leader and Liberal politician.-Background and education:...

 (b. 1862) and Morlais Glasfryn. His older brother, David Brynmor Jones
David Brynmor Jones
Sir David Brynmor Jones was a British barrister, historian and Liberal Member of Parliament.David Brynmor Jones was born in 1851 in Swansea, the first of the six children of Revd. Thomas Jones, a Congregationalist minister, and Jane Jones. His younger siblings were Annie, John Viriamu Jones Sir...

, and younger brother, Leifchild Jones, 1st Baron Rhayader
Leifchild Jones, 1st Baron Rhayader
Leifchild Stratten Leif-Jones, 1st Baron Rhayader PC , known as Leif Jones before his elevation to the peerage in 1932, was a British Temperance movement leader and Liberal politician.-Background and education:...

, both achieved prominence in public life.

In 1858 Jones's parents moved to London, and he was educated firstly at a private school in Reading, then at University College School
University College School
University College School, generally known as UCS, is an Independent school charity situated in Hampstead, north west London, England. The school was founded in 1830 by University College London and inherited many of that institution's progressive and secular views...

 in London. In 1867 his mother died, and at the end of 1869 his father left London and returned to Swansea, where he stayed until 1877; and John Viriamu continued his education at the Normal College, Swansea, before going up to University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

 at the age of 16. He obtained his first degree there at the age of only nineteen, and in 1874 won a scholarship to the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 (Balliol college
Balliol College, Oxford
Balliol College , founded in 1263, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England but founded by a family with strong Scottish connections....

), where he became a friend of Benjamin Jowett
Benjamin Jowett
Benjamin Jowett was renowned as an influential tutor and administrative reformer in the University of Oxford, a theologian and translator of Plato. He was Master of Balliol College, Oxford.-Early career:...

 and obtained first class honours in both mathematics and physics.

Career


In 1881, at the early age of twenty-five, Jones became principal of Frith College in Sheffield
Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

 - later the University of Sheffield
University of Sheffield
The University of Sheffield is a research university based in the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. It is one of the original 'red brick' universities and is a member of the Russell Group of leading research intensive universities...

. In 1882 he married Sarah Katherine Wills, daughter of judge Sir Alfred Wills
Alfred Wills
Sir Alfred Wills PC was a British High Court judge and a well-known mountaineer. He was the third President of the Alpine Club from 1863 to 1865.-Early life:...

.

In 1883, still in his twenties, Jones became the first principal of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire (afterwards Cardiff University
Cardiff University
Cardiff University is a leading research university located in the Cathays Park area of Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. It received its Royal charter in 1883 and is a member of the Russell Group of Universities. The university is consistently recognised as providing high quality research-based...

) and the head of its Physics Department. At the same time he became principal of the Cardiff Technical School (forerunner of the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (UWIST)).

In 1895 he was appointed the first vice-chancellor of the University of Wales
University of Wales
The University of Wales was a confederal university founded in 1893. It had accredited institutions throughout Wales, and formerly accredited courses in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students, but in October 2011, after a number of scandals, it withdrew all accreditation, and it was...

; and he also worked to raise the standard of secondary education in Wales.
He was an ex officio Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford
Jesus College, Oxford
Jesus College is one of the colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It is in the centre of the city, on a site between Turl Street, Ship Street, Cornmarket Street and Market Street...

 1897–98.

Amid all these activities he found time to pursue scientific research, and in 1894 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 for his work on measuring the ohm
Ohm
The ohm is the SI unit of electrical resistance, named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm.- Definition :The ohm is defined as a resistance between two points of a conductor when a constant potential difference of 1 volt, applied to these points, produces in the conductor a current of 1 ampere,...

.

Jones died suddenly in Geneva in June 1901, at the age of forty-five. His body was returned to Swansea
Swansea
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

, to be buried near his father at St Thomas's cemetery.

Further reading

  • K.V. Jones, Life of John Viriamu Jones (1915).
  • E.B. Poulton, John Viriamu Jones and other Oxford memories (1911).

External links

  • Welsh Biography Online
  • Hardy, E. G.
    Ernest George Hardy
    Ernest George Hardy was a classicist and Principal of Jesus College, Oxford from 1921 to 1925.Hardy was born in Hampstead, England and was educated at Highgate School. He then went to Exeter College, Oxford from 1871 to 1875, where he was a scholar and achieved a double-first in Literae Humaniores...

    , Jesus College – Appendix III: List of Fellows. (1899) F. E. Robinson & Co., London.
  • Biography by Sir Edward Bagnall