John Ambrose Fleming

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Sir John Ambrose Fleming (29 November 1849 – 18 April 1945) was an English electrical engineer and physicist. He is known for inventing the first thermionic valve or vacuum tube, the diode, then called the kenotron in 1904.[1] He also invented the right-hand rule, used in mathematics and electronics.[2] He was born the eldest of seven children of James Fleming DD (died 1879), a Congregational minister, and his wife, Mary Ann, at Lancaster, Lancashire and baptized on 11 February 1850. He was a devout Christian and preached on one occasion at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London on the topic of evidence for the resurrection. In 1932, along with Douglas Dewar and Bernard Acworth, he helped establish the Evolution Protest Movement. Having no children, he bequeathed much of his estate to Christian charities, especially those that helped the poor. He was an accomplished photographer and, in addition, he painted watercolours and enjoyed climbing in the Alps.


Early years

Ambrose Fleming was born in Lancaster and educated at University College School, London, and University College London. He entered St John's College, Cambridge in 1877, gaining his B.A. in 1881 and becoming a Fellow of St John's in 1883.[3] He went on to Lecture at several universities including the University of Cambridge, the University of Nottingham, and University College London, where he was the first professor of Electrical Engineering. He was also consultant to the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, Swan Company, Ferranti, Edison Telephone, and later the Edison Electric Light Company. In 1892, Fleming presented an important paper on electrical transformer theory to the Institution of Electrical Engineers in London.

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