J. A. Ratcliffe

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Jack Ratcliffe
Born(1902-12-12)12 December 1902
Bacup, Lancashire, England
Died25 October 1987(1987-10-25) (aged 84)
Cambridge, England
Alma materSidney Sussex College, Cambridge[1]
Known forIonospheric physics
AwardsHolweck Prize (1953)
Royal Medal (1966)
Faraday Medal (1966)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
Academic advisorsEdward Victor Appleton
Doctoral studentsBasil Briggs
David Whitehead
Maurice Wilkes
Joseph Lade Pawsey
Ronald N. Bracewell
Henry G. Booker
Kenneth G. Budden
Other notable studentsMartin Ryle

John Ashworth Ratcliffe CB[2] OBE[3] FRS[4] (12 December 1902 – 25 October 1987), "JAR" or "Jack", was an influential British radio physicist. (Several sources misspell his name as Radcliffe.)

He and his University of Cambridge group (which included physicist Frank Farmer) did much pioneering work on the ionosphere, immediately prior to World War II. He was one of many leading radio scientists who worked at the Telecommunications Research Establishment during WW2. Martin Ryle, Bernard Lovell, and Antony Hewish were co-workers there, and Ryle and Hewish joined his radio-physics group at Cambridge after WW2. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1951.

In 1953 Ratcliffe was invited to deliver the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture on The Uses of Radio Waves.

He served as President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers from 1966 to 1967.

From 1960 to 1966 he was Director of the Radio & Space Research Station at Slough.

Ratcliffe was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1976.


  1. ^ RATCLIFFE, John Ashworth, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2015; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014
  2. ^ "No. 43667". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1965. p. 5474.
  3. ^ "No. 41589". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1959. p. 11.
  4. ^ Budden, Kenneth George (1988). "John Ashworth Ratcliffe. 12 December 1902-25 October 1987". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 34: 670. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1988.0022.

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