Frederic Calland Williams

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F.C. Williams
Born Frederic Calland Williams
(1911-06-26)26 June 1911
Died 11 August 1977(1977-08-11) (aged 66)
Citizenship British
Nationality English
Alma mater
Thesis Problems of spontaneous oscillation in electrical circuits (1936)
Doctoral students Tom Kilburn[1]
Known for
Notable awards

Sir Frederic Calland Williams, CBE, FRS[2][3] (26 June 1911 in Stockport – 11 August 1977 in Manchester),[2][4] known as 'F.C. Williams' or (less often) 'Freddie Williams',[5] was an English engineer.[6][7][8][9][10][11]


Williams was educated at Stockport Grammar School and the Victoria University of Manchester where he was awarded Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees. He went on to receive his DPhil degree in 1936[12] after studying at Magdalen College, Oxford.[13]


Working at the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE), he was a substantial contributor during World War II to the development of radar.[14]

In 1946 he was appointed as head of the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Manchester. There, with Tom Kilburn, he pioneered the first stored-program digital computer, the Manchester Mark 1 computer.[14]

Williams is also recognised for his invention of the Williams-Kilburn tube, an early memory device.[14]

Awards and honours[edit]

Williams was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1950. His nomination reads


  1. ^ Kilburn, Tom (1948). A storage system for use with binary digital computing machines (PhD thesis). University of Manchester. 
  2. ^ a b c Kilburn, T.; Piggott, L. S. (1978). "Frederic Calland Williams. 26 June 1911-11 August 1977". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 24: 583. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1978.0020. 
  3. ^ a b c "EC/1950/25 Williams, Sir Frederic Calland: Library and Archive Catalogue". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2014-05-30. 
  4. ^ "Corrigenda: Frederic Calland Williams. 26 June 1911-11 August 1977". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 25: 0–1. 1979. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1979.0001. 
  5. ^ "Frederic Calland Williams (1911 - 1977)". 
  6. ^ Williams, Frederic; Kilburn, Tom (1948). "Electronic Digital Computers". Nature. 162 (4117): 487. doi:10.1038/162487a0. 
  7. ^ Anderson David, Delve Janet (2007) Frederic Calland Williams: the Manchester Baby's chief engineer IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 29 (4): 90-102
  8. ^ Williams, F.C.; Kilburn, T. (1949). "A storage system for use with binary-digital computing machines". Proceedings of the IEE - Part II: Power Engineering. doi:10.1049/pi-2.1949.0078. 
  9. ^ Anderson, D. P. (2009). "Interview An interview with Maurice Wilkes". Communications of the ACM. 52 (9): 39. doi:10.1145/1562164.1562180. 
  10. ^ Shelburne, B. J.; Burton, C. P. (1998). "Early programs on the Manchester Mark I Prototype". IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. 20 (3): 4. doi:10.1109/85.707570. 
  11. ^ Burton, C. (1998). "The Manchester baby reborn". IEE Review. 44 (3): 113. doi:10.1049/ir:19980302. 
  12. ^ Williams, Frederic Calland (1936). Problems of spontaneous oscillation in electrical circuits (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. (subscription required)
  13. ^ "Williams, Prof. Sir Frederic (Calland)". Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. December 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-05. (subscription required)
  14. ^ a b c Napper, Brian (October 2000). "Frederic Calland Williams (1911 - 1977)". University of Manchester. Retrieved 11 December 2015.