Robert Watson-Watt

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Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, KCB, FRS, FRAeS (13 April 1892 – 5 December 1973) is considered by many to be the "inventor of radar".[citation needed] (The hyphenated name is used herein for consistency, although this was not adopted until he was knighted in 1942.) Development of radar, initially nameless, was first started elsewhere but greatly expanded on 1 September 1936 when Watson-Watt became Superintendent of a new establishment under the British Air Ministry, Bawdsey Research Station located in Bawdsey Manor, near Felixstowe, Suffolk. Work there resulted in the design and installation of aircraft detection and tracking stations called Chain Home along the East and South coasts of England in time for the outbreak of WWII in 1939. This system provided the vital advance information that helped the Royal Air Force win the Battle of Britain.[1]

Contents

Early years

Born in Brechin, Angus, Scotland, Watson-Watt was a descendant of James Watt, the famous engineer and inventor of the practical steam engine. After attending Damacre Primary School and Brechin High School,[2] he was accepted to University College, Dundee (which was then part of the University of St Andrews but became the University of Dundee in 1967). He graduated with a BSc in engineering in 1912, and was offered an assistantship by Professor William Peddie. It was Peddie who encouraged him to study radio, or "wireless telegraphy" as it was then known.

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