Papers of Professor Denis Taylor

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection includes scrapbooks, press cuttings, leaflets and other publications relating to research conducted by Professor Denis Taylor, with a focus on radar and atomic research.

Administrative / Biographical History

Denis Taylor was born in Hull in May 1910. He attended Sidmouth Street Council School before moving on to Riley Technical High School and his undergraduate studies at Hull Municipal Technical College.

His first teaching appointment in 1931 was as a Physics and Electrical Engineering Lecturer and Demonstrator at Hull Municipal Technical College. Two years later he became the first student to receive a Master's of Science at University College Hull with the degree granted by University College London for his thesis 'The Formatisation of Rectangular Short-Wave Frame Aerials'. He continued his studies at Hull, where he worked as a Research Assistant and completed his Doctorate in 1937 with a thesis entitled 'Some Properties of Loop Aerials When Used with Short Waves'.

In July 1937 he became a Lecturer in Physics and Mathematics at Croydon Polytechnic, London becoming a Senior Lecturer in Radio Engineering in 1939. In September 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War, he joined the Air Ministry Research Establishment as a Technical Officer and worked initially at Dundee before moving to Swanage in 1940 to continue his research. He was promoted in 1941 to Senior Scientific Officer in charge of ground equipment location research, relating specifically to the chain of radar stations that were constructed to detect enemy aircraft.

He eventually moved to Malveryn College, Worcestershire in 1942 to join the Telecommunication Research Establishment (T.R.E.) which was later known as the Royal Radar Research Establishment was based. While he was there he aided Sir Robert Watson-Watt during the development of radar as a Superintendent. In 1944 he went to the Far East while in charge of a radar development unit to assist the RAF and Fleet Air Arm.

After the war he re-joined the Telecommunication Research Establishment but was soon appointed as the Head of the Electronics and Instruments Division for the Atomic Energy Research Establishment (A.E.R.E.), Harwell. A position he held for twelve years. His academic focus changed from Short Wave to Atomic Research building upon his work with radar sensors, the first papers on this subject were published in 1949.

In 1957 he was appointed as a Director and General Manager of Plessey Nucleonics Ltd, Flore, Northamptonshire, as well as a Research Executive of the Aircraft and Electronics groups of Plessey Co, and became responsible for the co-ordination of the company's nuclear programme. He continued to work for the A.E.R.E. as a part-time consultant during this move. He was also Chief UNESCO advisor at the faculty of engineering at University College, Nairobi, Kenya. Returning to Britain in 1966 he was appointed to the chair of Electronic Science and Telecommunications at Strathclyde University where he remained until his death in April 1972.

During his life he published several books including: 'Principles of Radar', Superintendent, Telecommunications Research Establishment, Ministry of Supply (published in 1948); 'Brochure of Instruments & Accessories for Radio-isotope Applications' (1950); Methuen's Monographs on Physical Subjects, 'The Measurement of Radioactive Isotopes', Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell (1951); 'Radiation Hazards and Protection', Co-authored with David Errington Barnes (1958); 'Neutron irradiation and activation analysis' (1964) and 'Introduction to Radar and Radar Techniques' (1966). He also wrote for a number of academic publications on a variety of subjects such as Radar, Mathematics, Physics, Electronics and Atomic Energy.

An Associate of The Physical Society from 1934, he was recognised by the government for this work on radar during the Second World War and elected as Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 1941. A member of the York Engineering Society he was an active member of the Council and chairman of the I.E.E.E.

He married Eileen Craven in May 1936 and had two children, a son Derek and a daughter Christine.

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

Donated by Mrs D Taylor, Cottingham, November 1989