David Tabor

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David Tabor
Born(1913-10-23)23 October 1913
Died26 November 2005(2005-11-26) (aged 92)
Alma materImperial College London
University of Cambridge (Ph.D, 1939)
Known forKey figure in the birth of Tribology
Spouse(s)Hannalene Stillschweig
AwardsTribology Gold Medal (1972)
Guthrie Medal (1975)
Royal Medal (1992)
Fellow of the Royal Society
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge

David Tabor, FRS (23 October 1913 – 26 November 2005)[1] was a British physicist who was an early pioneer of tribology, the study of frictional interaction between surfaces, and well known for his influential undergraduate textbook "Gases, Liquids and Solids".

Academic career[edit]

In 1957, Tabor was elected a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. In 1964, the University of Cambridge appointed him Reader in Physics. From 1969 to 1981, he served as Head of Physics and Chemistry of Solids at the Cavendish Laboratory. In 1973, he was promoted to Professor of Physics. He was made Professor Emeritus when he retired in 1981.[2]


He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1963. In 1968 he was awarded the A. A. Griffith Medal and Prize. He was the first recipient of the Tribology Gold Medal, awarded by the Tribology Trust, which is administered by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1972. He also received the Guthrie Medal of the Institute of Physics, 1975 and the Royal Society's Royal Medal, one of their three highest awards, 1992.[3]


  1. ^ Field, J. (2008). "David Tabor. 23 October 1913 -- 26 November 2005". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 54: 425–459. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2007.0031.
  2. ^ 'TABOR, Prof. David', Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2016; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, April 2014 accessed 21 May 2017
  3. ^ Field, John (May 2006). "Obituary: David Tabor". Physics Today. 59 (5): 72–73. Bibcode:2006PhT....59e..72F. doi:10.1063/1.2216974.