Christopher Grigson

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Christopher William Baisely "Grig" Grigson (1 December 1926 - 19 February 2001) was a British naval architect and electronics engineer who is credited with the invention of scanning electron diffraction.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Grigson was born in Hoshangabad, India to Sir Wilfrid Grigson, Deputy Commissioner of the Central Provinces and Berar, and his wife, Lady Phyllis Grigson.[1] Grigson and his sister Claudia (who later married Henry Chilver) were both educated at a prep school in Sussex. While visiting his uncle and aunt in Cambridge he became ill with osteomyelitis of the hip, which left him bedridden for two years.[1] Unable to leave, he was brought up by his uncle and aunt, and in 1946 won a place to study mechanical science at Trinity College, Cambridge. Despite still being ill he gained Firsts in both the Part I and Part II mechanical science triposes.[1] After his health improved he took a PhD in electronics at Cambridge.[1]


Grigson began to work at the university, becoming a demonstrator in 1953, and lecturer in 1957. During the 1950s he worked on the team of Charles Oatley developing the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), which is still used today.[1] He became a Fellow of Trinity College in 1962, and in the same year married a Norwegian student at Bell School named Helle Bang. During a sabbatical year at Bell Laboratories in 1964-1965 he continued work on improving SEM technology.[2] The scanning diffraction system that he developed for scanning transmission electron microscopes was known for many years as the "Grigson coil."[2]

In 1968 he moved to Kristiansand, Norway to begin working at his father-in-law's naval firm, A/S Athene.[1] He ran the company for several years from his father-in-law's death in 1974 until the company closed due to oil crises of the 1970s.[2] After the business closed he worked as an independent consultant in hydrodynamics, including investigation of the sinking of the bulk ore carrier Derbyshire.[2] In 1992 he and his family moved to Grimstad, and Grigson began lecturing at the University of Agder Engineering College, teaching hydrodynamics and basic physics.[1][2] He published nearly 20 papers in the journal of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects before his death of cancer in Grimstad on 19 February 2001.[1][2]

Grigson was a fellow of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Christopher Grigson - Obituaries,News - The Independent". The Independent. 25 April 2001. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f The Work of C.W.B. Grigson, In Advances in Imaging and Electron Physics, by Bernard C. Breton, Peter W. Hawkes, Dennis McMullan, and Kenneth C. A. Smith. Academic Press, 2004. ISBN 0-12-014775-0, ISBN 978-0-12-014775-5