23 August 1885|
Gillingham, Medway, Kent
|Died||9 October 1959
|Notable awards||Albert Medal (1944)
Fellow of the Royal Society
Sir Henry Thomas Tizard FRS (23 August 1885 – 9 October 1959) was an English chemist, inventor and Rector of Imperial College, who developed the modern "octane rating" used to classify petrol, helped develop radar in World War II, and led the first serious studies of UFOs.
Tizard was born in Gillingham, Medway, Kent in 1885. His ambition to join the navy was thwarted by poor eyesight, and he instead studied at Westminster School and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he concentrated on mathematics and chemistry, doing work on indicators and the motions of ions in gases in 1911.
Tizard was married on 24 April 1915 to Kathleen Eleanor (d. 1968), daughter of Arthur Prangley Wilson, a mining engineer. They had three sons: (John) Peter Mills Tizard, who became a professor of paediatrics at the University of London; Richard Henry Tizard (1917–2005), an engineer and senior tutor at Churchill College, Cambridge; and David (b. 1922), a general practitioner in London.
World War I
"The secret of science", he once said, "is to ask the right question, and it is the choice of problem more than anything else that marks the man of genius in the scientific world." Tizard's chosen problem became aeronautics. At the outbreak of the First World War he joined first the Royal Garrison Artillery (where his training methods were famously bizarre) and then the Royal Flying Corps, where he became experimental equipment officer and learned to fly planes after his eyesight improved. He acted as his own test pilot for making aerodynamical observations. When his superior Bertram Hopkinson was moved to the Ministry of Munitions, Tizard went with him. When Hopkinson died in 1918, Tizard took over his post. Tizard served in the Royal Air Force from 1918 to 1919.
After the Great War he was made Reader in Chemical Thermodynamics at Oxford University, where he experimented in the composition of fuel trying to find compounds which were resistant to freezing and less volatile, devising the concept of "toluene numbers" – now referred to as octane ratings. After this work (largely for Shell) he took up again a government post as assistant secretary to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. His successes in this post (and after promotions to permanent secretary) included the establishment of the post of the Chemical Research Laboratory in Teddington, the appointment of a Director of Scientific Research to the Air Force (H. E. Wimperis) and finally the decision to leave to become the Rector of Imperial College, London, in 1929, a position he held until 1942. In May 1926, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society  He was awarded CB in 1927, KCB in 1937 and GCB in 1949.
In 1935 the development of radar in the United Kingdom was started by Tizard's Aeronautical Research Committee (Committee for the Scientific Survey of Air Defence) (which he chaired since 1933), doing the first experimental work at Orfordness near Ipswich before moving to the nearby Bawdsey Research Station (BRS) in 1936.
World War II
In September 1940 after a top secret landmark conference with Winston Churchill at which his opposition to R.V. Jones' view that the Germans had established a system of radio-beam bombing aids (Battle of the Beams) over the UK had been overruled, Tizard led what became known as the Tizard Mission to the United States, which introduced to the US, among others, the newly invented resonant-cavity magnetron and other British radar developments, the Whittle gas turbine, and the British Tube Alloys (nuclear weapons) project.
In 1946 Tizard remained in the defence establishment, chairing the Defence Research Policy Committee.
The Ministry of Defence’s UFO Project has its roots in a study commissioned in 1950 by the MOD’s then Chief Scientific Adviser, the great radar scientist Sir Henry Tizard. As a result of his insistence that UFO sightings should not be dismissed without some form of proper scientific study, the department set up arguably the most marvellously-named committee in the history of the civil service, the Flying Saucer Working Party (FSWP).
Tizard had followed the official debate about ghost rockets with interest and was intrigued by the increasing media coverage of UFO sightings in the United Kingdom, America and other parts of the world. Using his authority as Chief Scientific Adviser at the MOD he decided that the subject should not be dismissed without proper, official investigation. Accordingly, he agreed that a small Directorate of Scientific Intelligence/Joint Technical Intelligence Committee (DSI/JTIC) working party should be set up to investigate the phenomenon. This was dubbed the Flying Saucer Working Party. The DSI/JTIC minutes recording this historic development read as follows:
- "The Chairman said that Sir Henry Tizard felt that reports of flying saucers ought not to be dismissed without some investigation and he had, therefore, agreed that a small DSI/JTIC Working Party should be set up under the chairmanship of Mr Turney to investigate future reports.
After discussion it was agreed that the members of the Working Party should be representatives from DSI1, ADNI(Tech), MI10 and ADI(Tech). It was also agreed that it would probably be necessary at some time to consult the Meteorological Department and ORS Fighter Command but that these two bodies should not at present be asked to nominate representatives".
One of the most controversial meetings Tizard had to attend in his capacity as chair of the Defence Research Policy Committee would only emerge many years later with the declassification of CIA documents, namely a meeting on June 1, 1951 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, between Tizard, Omond Solandt (chairman of Defence Research and Development Canada) and representatives of the CIA, to discuss "brainwashing."
Awards and honors
- Jones, R. V.; Farren, W. S. (1961). "Henry Thomas Tizard. 1885–1959". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 7: 313. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1961.0024.
- "Library and Archive catalog". Royal Society. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- Celinscak, Mark (2013). ""Henry T. Tizard" in Philosophers of War: The Evolution of History's Greatest Military Thinkers". Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. p. 487.
- Evanson, Deborah. "The Tizard Mission: 75 years on". Imperial College London. Imperial College London. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
- Rendlesham Forest
- Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine, Penguin Books, London, 2007, p.33
- "British Association at Dundee". Nature. 160: 324. 6 Sep 1947. doi:10.1038/160324a0.
- Clark, Ronald (1965). Tizard. London. ISBN 0-262-03010-1.. A biography written at the request of the subject's son.
- Poliakoff, Martyn. "Following Henry Tizard". The Periodic Table of Videos. University of Nottingham.
|Rector of Imperial College London
George Stuart Gordon
|President of Magdalen College, Oxford
T. S. R. Boase