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British Industrial History

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John Turton Randall

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1905 John Turton Randall (1905–1984), physicist and biophysicist

1905 born on 23 March at Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, son of Sidney Randall, nurseryman and seedsman, and his wife, Hannah Cawley.

Educated at the grammar school at Ashton in Makerfield and at the University of Manchester, where he was awarded a first-class honours degree in physics

1928 Married Doris, daughter of Josiah John Duckworth, a colliery surveyor. They had one son.

1926 Employed on research by the General Electric Company at its Wembley laboratories, where he took a leading part in developing luminescent powders for use in discharge lamps.

1937 Awarded a Royal Society fellowship to Birmingham University, where he worked on the electron trap theory of phosphorescence.

WWII Transferred to the large group working on centimetre radar.

By 1940 he had, with H. A. H. Boot, invented the cavity magnetron to produce high power centimetre radio waves, overcoming the greatest obstacle in the development of radar.

1944 Appointed professor of natural philosophy at St Andrews University

1946 Wheatstone professor of physics at King's College, London; honorary director of the MRC Biophysics Research Unit.

1962 Knighted

1970 Retired to Edinburgh University

1984 Died in Edinburgh

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Sources of Information

  • Biography, ODNB