Talk:Royal Radar Establishment

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This article is a phase in the history of one single establishment and location that has been the major employer in Malvern for nearly 70 years. The focus of research and its permanent employees has changed only slightly over the years in spite of the frequent renaming. It has always been a facility for the research and development of electronic defence tchnology. I'm suggesting a merger of all these articles into a main article with subsections for each, leaving rediretcs. But, it's only a suggestion...

looking at the pages TRE and RRE maybe should be merge. One could also possibly also merge in RSRE. If you merged RSRE you would have to also merge Signals Research and Development Establishment. Also DRA and DERA may be could be merged. DRA should not be merged with RSRE as DRA was much more than just RSRE. Also as QinetiQ is a very different entity to what DERA was I would not support merging QinetiQ. Iccaldwell (talk) 17:58, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it's a difficult one, this, isn't it. I feel that all the establishments from TRE to DERA should be merged into one decent article. The name changed a lot, and the scientific focus may have changed a bit, but the staff didn't. The problem would be in choosing which name to give the article and redirect all the others. I suggest using its last name, DERA. The bigget changes didn't really happen until North Site closed down.I do agree with you however that QinetiQ should retain its own article. Probably the best thing to do is to call for a debate. I can organise it if you like.--Kudpung (talk) 19:41, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
yes please do!!! I have just run into this in the course of amending John Gunn's page Michael P. Barnett (talk) 15:40, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Revision 12/20[edit]

Best I could do tonight. Essentially place holders for standardization, cleanup, expansion. More anon Michael P. Barnett (talk) 04:32, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Is W. (Bill) Bardsley (crystal growth) emminent enough to add to your list? I think he stayed at RRE the rest of his career. Jpg1954 (talk) 21:23, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Mos & BLP[edit]

This article is developing well but let's not lose sight of the WP:MOS and WP:BLP. There should be no editing notes in the text, so if these items are not complete they can be entirely left out or stored in users' sandboxes until they are - there's no hurry. All text should preferably be in prose form unless there is good reason for it not to be.
People in lists who do not have Wikipedia articles should nevertheless be able to satisfy the same requirements for notability as a stand-alone biography as outlined in WP:BASIC, and WP:ACADEMIC. In contrast to some of the reasons for leaving redlinks in articles, redlinks on people's names is probably not not a good idea and may count as unreferenced BLP and will generally be unlinked, and removed to the talk page if not sourced. For an example, see how we handle this at Malvern, Worcestershire, a Good Article. --Kudpung (talk) 02:20, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Question about Bill Bardsley[edit]

I think that there are objective criteria that make mention of Bill Bardsley unchallengeable and omission inexcusable. Your comment shows how important the principle of WP is. I did mention "single crystal growth" in the list of scientific topics to which RRE staff made major contributions. I hope that other people will add to this list, and provide names of contributors.

Words like "famous", "distinguished", "eminent" and so on make me nervous. Can we sidestep these by something like "made significant contributions to ..."?

With Bill, the importance of the field within which he worked (crystal growth) is shown by the publication of a journal called Crystal Growth by Elsevier. There must be documentation of the importance of the aspect on which he worked (growing large single crystals) in the development of heat and infra-red detectors, in some of his papers and in any survey of these sensors and their applications. The importance of Bill's work is shown by number, time span and topics of papers that cite it. A Web of Science search on his name found that there are over 200 citations to his papers. His first paper, published in 1961, was cited as recently as 2004 and 2005 and, a little earlier, in a space science paper concerned with crystal growth on other solar system objects.

I suppose it could be said that I am being subjective in my choice of "objective" criteria. But what more is possible. I tried to get some feedback about my concerns regarding "notability" Talk:Notability in Wikipedia#Verifying a statement that someone is or was a "significant contributor" but got no feedback. But I am scared of a situation where any one person becomes arbiter of "eminence" or suchlike value laden words. Obviously, some people merit such terms, but society has awarded them, and I don't think eminence of that kind should be prerequisite to mention.

When I typed the list last night I realized the problem of people who stayed. I think we have to keep checking around. And I think we should give credit to administrators. I cannot even remember who was Director when I was at RRE. But I was well impressed. One comment I have heard quite often is that a measure of the skill of an administrator is the lack of awareness of staff that they are being administrated. Maybe we should list successive Directors.

While I was at RRE, I put together a conference on theoretical solid state physics and we produced a proceedings. I may have a copy stashed away -- will look. John Hawgood (U. Durham), Roger Elliot (U. Aberdeen), Ernst Sondheimer (Queen Mary College, London) gave papers, but I know that Ernst is dead, so is Leo Pincherle, and there is no entry for John or Roger as Emeritii on their department web sites. Who else can we tap for memories? As regards articles which might be expected to endorse earlier comments, WP Crystal growth is actively dangerous -- I posted a comment that I hope is not breaking WP courtesy rules. The Royal Society obit on Ron Jones does not mention that he was a champion grower of large single crystals in 1954, and in close contact with us. I found one paper of Ron's paralleling Bardsley's work, but finding it was time consuming. Maybe we put in items that we think are of relevance, try to find corroboration when time permits, and expedite if challenged.

I assume that you and GyroMagician and Iccaldwell and Kudpung are in dialogue with each other and with other ex RRE people. We just have to keep remembering. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 02:49, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

The only other RRE person I know of off hand is Alan Gibson, and you already have him on your list.

Jpg1954 (talk) 04:55, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

MOS and BLP[edit]

In the grand scheme of things there is no need to hurry, but time is inelastic and there are unavoidable time constraints. I used one-item-per-line format with the intent of merging and extending each line today. I agree very strongly that prose should be used wherever possible and am appalled by the apparent norm of doing the opposite. I am too exhausted to do any more tonight, and would be grateful if things can be left as is for 15 hours. Two wrongs don't make a right, but I have seen a lot worse in form as well as substance. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 02:49, 22 December 2010 (UTC)


If (from the RRE page), you click on "What links here" (under toolbox) you can pick up a few more names- mostly a bit later. Jpg1954 (talk) 05:21, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

temporary removals

Names temporarily removed until notability per WP:GNG and WP:ACADEMIC can be asserted. For a very rapid rule of thumb, see the notable people at Malvern, Worcestershire to grt a idea of the level of notabiity that is required for Wikipedia - i>e> if there's enough sourcable material to write Wikipedia biographies of them, we an put them back in when te stubs have been created, but they must conform to the criteria first.
W. D. Lawson, W. P. Lewis, T. P. McLean, Stanley Neilson, David Parkinson, Leo Pincherle, J. W. S. Pringle, Henry P. Putley, J. Quarrington, V. Roberts, A. W. Smart, C. Holt Smith, A. M. Uttley, K. A. Woods, A. S. Young, Paul Butcher, (theoretical solid state physics), Geoffrey V. Chester, (statistical thermodynamics and academic administration), David Howarth, (theory of metals, computer science), Michael Radcliffe, (theoretical physics).
Kudpung (talk) 09:56, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Life is too short -- and I really mean it[edit]

I have spent several hours that I can ill afford responding to the requirement imposed on the expansion of the RRE article, that I wrote in good faith in an effort to be helpful, by providing information that I remember, while am still able to.

I am perplexed by the requirement that a person who is mentioned in an article must be sufficiently notable to merit an article of their own. The WP articles for every municipality in the state of New Jersey, U.S.A. lists the name of everyone elected to the municipal council and everyone who was defeated in the most recent election and, quite often the name of the Chief of Police. See for example East Windsor, New Jersey.

I am perplexed by the criteria for notability. The notable people in Princeton, New Jersey include Lyle and Erik Menendez whose notability was achieved by murdering their parents, and whose connection with the town was relatively short attendance at a local school and attendance by one brother at Princeton University (I do not know for how long). Whilst they satisfy criterion for notability, attendance at a school has been ruled out in one message I received from an administrator for inclusion in an article about a town. A hairdresser is named as a notable person in Leigh-on-Sea. I have no problem with that. But I will have a problem with the values of a community that makes scientists and engineers who played significant roles in winning World War II less notable than teen age killers and a hairdresser, if "all" they achieved verifiably was having half a dozen books and a hundred or so research papers published.

I became involved with WP as the result of a piece of total misinformation, at a seminar that was recorded and is on file, given by a Vice-President of a WP group, to the effect that personal recollections are acceptable and are the basis of much of the WP material on the early days of electronic computing. Now, I am bogged down in a bottomless pit of time consuming literature searches, because statements in a paper published by the Royal Society of London describing people as "achieving eminence" is insufficient.

As a further cause for perplexity, names that I put in last night have been removed from the article about RRE, although they are in the article about TRE (a previous name for RRE) for quite some time.

Every school, college and university in the area where I live has a prohibition on quoting from WP. Before I became a WP editor, the many articles that I found in WP for topics of local interest were very good. Since making a start on contributing, I have found many more articles that are very good, and several that are not -- factual errors, statements that give completely wrong impressions, text that does not even consist of well formed sentences.

It would be nice to have, as an existence theorem: an article about subject Y can mention a role that person X played in Y if it can be shown that there exists a book or journal published by a major commercial publisher, university press or professional society which says so. (The point is that the literature search need find only one item, and also that a single definitive article which mentions a large number of people would enable mention of all of them). Is this possible?

Michael P. Barnett (talk) 17:29, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

It looks as if this would be a good first filter (from WP:ACADEMIC)

3. The person is or has been an elected member of a highly selective and prestigious scholarly society or association (e.g. a National Academy of Sciences or the Royal Society) or a Fellow of a major scholarly society for which that is a highly selective honor (e.g. the IEEE)
For the purposes of Criterion 3, elected memberships in minor and non-notable societies are insufficient (most newly formed societies fall into that category).

The IEEE site has a good list of the CURRENTLY LIVING IEEE Fellows, but I can't find any information about deceased IEEE Fellows. Jpg1954 (talk) 18:10, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

According to THIS

Alan Gibson was "Elected FRS in 1978", so he mets Criterion 3 Jpg1954 (talk) 18:47, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

mentionable = notable?[edit]

Thanks. These comments solve the problem of mentioning someone who I know is or was an FRS, because I can check on the web sites [1] and [2]. But the big and unnecessary busy work that has taken up most of 1 working day is that I have been pushed into establishing the notability of people I only want to MENTION in a WP article, believing that I could do this because they are mentioned as major contributors in an article published by the Royal Society. And I have only got part way through the list of such people. If this restriction of mentionability to notability is sustained, it is quite unrealistic for me to try contributing information to the article on RRE or any other institution or laboratory that may be lost otherwise. I think that my noticing the omission of John Gunn was productive.

I was all set to recruit other people in their 80s to pitch in. But I do not want to subject anyone else to finding themselves needing to throw good time after bad, which is what I feel I have been doing today, to put the names I typed last night into the article. And I can find dozens of WP articles which mention people who do not meet notability requirements.

Michael P. Barnett (talk) 22:40, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Well, 50-somethings don't like throwing in good time after bad, either, and this certainly does suck up your time. But I think the Worcestershire "team" has set the goal of getting as many articles as possible to "GA" status.

Jpg1954 (talk) 02:13, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Michael, please do not underestimate how much your contributions are appreciated by us youngsters in their sixties who are also interested in accuracy in the Wikipedia, especially those of us whose very existence is due to TRE/RRE being in Malvern in 1946. Only unsourced names have been temporarily removed while you look for the sources. Wikipedia, however, has rules about how it is compiled, and they are based on two fundamental core issues which have to be read to be understood: WP:NOTABILITY, and WP:SOURCE. Exceptions to the rules are rare, and if there appear to be, it concerns articles that were either created before they existed, or pages that have not been noticed yet, but will be reviewed sooner or later. See WP:OTHERSTUFF. Local elected city councilors and mayors are mentioned if they pass WP:POLITICIANKudpung (talk) 05:20, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Hah! Me too- my existence is due to TRE/RRE being in Malvern in '46 - '47. Jpg1954 (talk) 06:02, 23 December 2010 (UTC)


I agree very strongly with Kudpung's reaffirmation of adherence to WP:SOURCE. I think that the obituary of R. A. Smith fits the criteria for a high quality secondary source. It was published by the Royal Society of London -- I cannot think of a more prestigious publisher. Maybe my wording was not sufficiently emphatic:

"The Biographical Memoir of Robert Allen Smith, F.R.S., O.B.E, focuses on the development of Radar and then solid state physics that he directed.<ref name=smithMemoir>S.D. Smith, ''Robert Allan Smith'', Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, vol.28, 479-504, 1982.</ref>. The following people are amongst those mentioned in the article: "

Should I have repeated the citation after each name? My plan was to get the names in place, then eliminate redundancies with people from the TRE page, and then try to source other people -- I have done this for Bill Bardsley, but I do not know how to source the fact that Paul Butcher, Geoffrey Chester, David Howarth, Paul Samet (or Sammet), Robert Taylor were at RRE. I do not even know what they did. I think my affiliation is mentioned in the "about the authors" at the end of an issue of Penguin Science News (the article was about uses of mass spectrometers).

I can show that Paul Butcher wrote respected monographs, and that Geoffrey published papers from Cornell and was a senior administrator from items picked up by Google. I suppose Manchester University and University College London and the Rutherford Lab could be contacted to confirm David, Paul Sammet, and Bob were there. But this is time consuming. I don't want to come across as a shirker, but I really think that the most useful, to WP, expenditure of my time is on things I remember from before when you all were there. I see the flags "citation needed". Could we use that for items that people provide in good faith -- this can be a prompt to a reader to provide it, whilst warning that it is unverified. I had a constructive dialogue on Garden roses in contents item 4.1 (Notable rose growers) under Empress Josephine (led to this from old photo of a rose grower in photo history of Malvern).

What I really think most useful for me to do next apropos the RRE article is to make sure appropriate mention is made of presence in RRE of people for whom there are WP articles already (as I did for Ian Gunn) and to press for articles on C. E. Bellinger, Henry Booker, George MacFarlane, Leo Pincherle and R. A. Smith, if there is a way to do this.

I am labouring the idea of propagating data from RA's obit to multiple biographical articles because it illustrates a tactic of immense potential for WP.

I started to apply it by propagating information from the photographic history of Malvern. It follows the principle used in the production of H. W. Wilson Company databases and Index Medicus. The methodology was my full time concern when I was Director of R & D at the Wilson Company. Each database covers a fixed set of journals. Employees, with the title "indexers", go through each issue of each of these, when it arrives, inspects each article and assigns subject headings from an authority list, to which it is relevant. These bibliographic records are sorted at the end of the indexing cycle (in 1970, typically 3 months).

There are vast numbers of books that can be used to generate information systematically for multiple articles. Photographic histories, like the one for Malvern, are valuable. For the Leigh-on-Sea article, I put in accurate information about the church that had been mentioned already, and two more churches now considered of architectural history interest, that I took from the Essex volume of the Buildings of England series by Nikolas Pevsner.

Conceivably, someone (and here I come back to the idea of students working under supervision) could create a WP site with hundreds of items of templated data, flagged for where they should be put, and a daemon released by an appropriate administrator to distribute them (with ENORMOUS precautions against an unauthorized person doing any distributing).

Anyhow, if I can go ahead as outlined, using mention in Royal Society and other prestigious journal obits, please let me know. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 12:26, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Tidying up[edit]

I have merged the lists of people from RA's obit and from the TRE page. Pity that Cockburn, Dippy and Sciama were moved out as non-notables because I used the wrong initials and missed out a bracket. Pincherle and Uttley had already been accepted as notable in the Malvern article. Nielson, Lawson and Young were mentioned in the next paragraph as recipients of Rank award. They are all back. I will be interested in follow up to the question of mentionable only if notable. A few more details: 1. do liquid crystals warrant 2 lines of introduction, when all the other work at RRE just has 3? Might it be better to use a catch phrase in the introduction, and a longer explanation together with longer explanations of the other topics later in the article? 2. can we get rid of the see also and external link lists by sections in the body that explain why these are relevant -- maybe sections (or subsections) headed "Related agencies", "Related histories", for the first four see also's, a paragraph on liquid crystals at RRE with a link for the fifth, and a paragraph on computing at RRE subsuming CORAL in an expanded Research section. On this score, I would like to find a reference for MOSAIC, Philip Blundel's delay line 4-address computer at Leigh Sinton that was decommisioned by transfer to Wales.

Can the National Archives be used for verifiability? Michael P. Barnett (talk) 02:20, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Were you going to add Bill Bardsley? Jpg1954 (talk) 05:00, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Could we please get the terminology right, because inclusion in Wikipedia depends on two fundamental aspects of encyclopediography: notability and verifiability. No one is saying that the names have been removed for not being notable. They were removed (temporarily) for not being adequately sourced i.e. their notability is not yet confirmed according to WP:RS for WP:NOTABILITY and WP:BIO. Please read upon these policies and do bear in mind that a two-line entry in a text about something else will not confer notability. FWIW I went to school with Bardsley's kids. --Kudpung (talk) 05:40, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
I have NOT suggested a WP page for Bill Bardsley. I have agreed with Jpg1954 that the section on research at RRE must MENTION Bill Bardsley as a significant contributor to the growth of single crystals from melts. This was essential to the development of heat detecting semiconductor sensors, which was essential to heat seeking missiles, sniperscopes, devices to detect hot spots in buildings and so on. Failure to mention Bill would misrepresent, by omission, present knowledge of the scientific history of RRE. I have provided adequate evidence of his contribution by giving the number of references to his papers on the topic in Web of Science. This criterion of significant contribution is widely accepted for grant awards, promotion and tenure in many universities. I would use phraseology along lines "Major work on the growth of crystals from melts was conducted by William Bardsley. A Web of Science search in late 2010 showed over 200 references to his papers, some within the past three years, including a space science study of crystals on the surface of a planetary object", with reference to the paper that reports this. This would be quite sufficient for the hard print encyclopedias to which I have contributed invited articles, and for the several survey articles I have written for major chemistry journals and major computer science journals. I repeat, I am NOT suggesting an article about Bill. I am describing how he would be MENTIONED. A simple analogy. Asking the local supermarket to stock Marmite is not the same as petitioning the town council to let me open a Marmite store in town. Merry Christmas. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 12:16, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
P.S. Bill was NOT one of the people you removed. I had not put him in yet. I was working systematically through the lists first. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 12:41, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

I certainly didn't mean to start up another argument by mentioning Bill Bardsley again.

Happy Christmas Jpg1954 (talk) 23:44, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Contributions of staff[edit]

1. I started to add these. I asked Notability (people)#Must notability of X be established to mention X? and was assured by User:Tryptofish that it does not. I asked Wikipedia talk:Conflict of interest#How do I find out if an edit I would like to make would be COI? if I have transgressed in references to my own work that I have put in other articles, and if mentioning myself here would be ok, and was assured by User:bobrayner that I am ok on both counts.

2. I think that listing the topics on which people worked and what they went on to do is important for students of history of science and sociology of science (which this article belongs to, as well as military history -- actually it is a tremendous example of how defense needs can have positive consequences). The work trajectories of people who have their own articles can be seen by following hyperlinks, but it is nice to have encapsulations in one place.

3. I homed in on the fastest way to build is by books published -- I just have to go to the main catalogue of a university library, find the section that contains works by X, get the first full record for him or her, cut and paste, and click Next to get another.

4. I kept this up to justify the statement that at least 20 books were published. I think the count of full length books is 19, and I put in only two of mine.

5. I moved the mention of the liquid crystal work from the lead to the staff and achievements which seemed a bit better for balance.

6. If this seems worthwhile, I would be very grateful for other people doing some expansion.

Happy New Year Michael P. Barnett (talk) 20:05, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

I actually like the way you did the "other" better than the list above.
I see you put in a birth date for yourself. Do you want to put dates for others? Gunn is 1928 - 2008, Bardsley is 1923 - 2007.
Here is a good ref for Bill's lifetime achievments.,_William_Bardsley_1923_2007.doc from the THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR CRYSTAL GROWTH, but I am not sure how to reference it.

Happy New Year to you to.

Jpg1954 (talk) 20:59, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

reply 1/1/11[edit]

1. Reference to Bardsley is great. I could not have found it. I had learned of the existence of the Association for Crystal Growth but struck out when I tried to get more detail. I can get references to books and and to journal articles, but getting full text of articles where I spend most of my time hits a glitch with some journals (hope to fix this in next fortnight).

2. I think I can get well informed opinion, hopefully next week, on how to reference documents such as the Bardsley piece, in context of current drive to create websites for massive archival material on durable websites, that create host of unconventional objects of reference.

3. I have NO preference for structuring this article, beyond hoping that the "see also" and "further reading" lists can be absorbed into the main list of references, by dint of section that explains WHY readers should follow the hyperlinks. Not sure what it was you preferred -- but please adopt it. As regards dates, I thought it might be interesting to put these in for everyone, so readers could see span of ages of participants. But not a big deal.

4. I began editing this article for practice. Now, I hope it will (i) ensure remembrance of people at Malvern who contributed to science and engineering, and to its impact on war time survival and the subsequent quality of life , (ii) provide a rich example of how people from diverse backgrounds were brought together and created new science and engineering, impacting the development of these in society at large (CRT technology carried over to computing and to TV for the populace, solid state physics built up and disseminated to British academe and industry, ...), (iii) give future generations some inkling that this was done by real people in real situations, in danger (Bill Bardsley defusing bombs before his Malvern days, Blumlein killed in a test flight, R. A. Smith being flown along the French coast shortly before D-day);and in laboratories where people made things with their own hands that could blow up -- many students now see science as glossy off-the-shelf machines controlled by "user-friendly" software -- great -- but know what it was like once upon a time.

(I am having an overdose of the "don't look at me in that tone of voice" approach to history of science, apropos the Rosalind Franklin article -- Maurice Wilkins was a friend of mine.) If other people feel the way I do about RRE, I will do what I can to help (I will do what I can however people feel). My usefulness is in remembering names -- one thing outstanding is the conference on theoretical solid state physics I put together -- John Hawgood, Ernst Sondheimer, Roger Elliott were there -- there is a remote possibility a copy of the proceedings is in basement storage; also Nigel Mott was consultant to RRE and paid friendly visits. BUT, I haven't a clue about electronic engineering or about theoretical solid state physics beyond band structure calculations as they were through the early sixties, and the hunt for organic chemicals with properties that might be symptomatic of semiconductivity, plus another activity that Hodlin put me onto, took over my time at Malvern. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 16:25, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Alan Gibson also went on to be one of the "founding" professors at the University of Essex (see University of Essex), and I believe he spent the rest of his career there.

This is an aside (from a letter I scanned last night), as I have no idea about his notability- who was R.L. Bell? He "left the Establishment on Sept 30th" 1957... "He has obtained a post at Imperial College as a lecturer in the metallurgy dept". Google brings up a few technical articles.

I found the Bardsley article by googling - "bill bardsley" malvern

Jpg1954 (talk) 17:00, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

My broadband provider has been pushing Bing, and I gave it a try. I'm going back to Google. And telling the help desk. Thanks. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 18:23, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

I just looked at Web of Science. It picks up experimental papers by an R.L.Bell starting in 1953, that fit into crystal behaviour and metallurgy, in English journals. As I move forward in time, these are diluted by an R.L.Bell in radioisotope medicine. Then there is a somewhat abrupt change to more mathematical papers in Physical Review, by an R.L.Bell at the Varian company. I knew Raimes, Michael Bernal (J.D.'s younger son) and Wohlfarth, all in solid state theory at Imperial from the late 40s until I came to U.S., but they were all in Math (I think Jones of Mott and Jones was Professor) -- not sure Metallurgy was in same admin unit (School of Engineering vs School of Science) of Imperial. But the obviously experimental papers from presumably Malvern days are cited enough through 2009 to count as significant contribution. Will check further when more time efficient. Thanks. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 18:51, 1 January 2011 (UTC)


editing the Rosalind Franklin article reminded me of another albeit very brief presence at RRE -- John Maddox! (Brenda, who wrote a book about Franklin, was his 2nd wife). He came in some kind of temporary appointment -- he was good at that. Leo Pincherle told me with feeling of the anticipation of the seminar at which Maddox was to present a definitive solution of the magnetron equations. Unfortunately (and typically) he had omitted a crucial term in the differential equations. Since this is not verifiable, no need to mention it. I am working on the Coulson article for a bit. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 22:21, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Band Structure Symposium September 27--28, 1954[edit]

It would be nice to work in:

One of the first meetings, in England, on band structures in solid state physics,[1] was held at R.R.E. in 1954. The session chairs and scheduled speakers, and their affiliations at the time, were R.A.Smith (RRE), L. (Leo) Pincherle (RRE), G.G. (George) Hall (University of Cambridge), S. (Stanley) Raimes (Imperial College, London), N.H (Norman) March (University of Sheffield), D.J. (David) Howarth (MIT), R.S. Leigh (AERE), Charles Coulson (University of Oxford), S.J. (Simon) Altmann (University of Oxford), E.P. (Eric) Wohlfarth (Imperial College, London), John Hawgood (University of Durham), G. C. Fletcher (University College of the South West), E.H. (Ernst) Sondheimer, R.J. (Roger) Elliott (AERE), R. Barrie (SERL), and J.M. (Michael) Radcliffe (RRE). Further discussants included O. Simpson, E.W. Elcock, D.F. Johnston, and W.M. Lomer.

I just found my own copy. For verifiability, I will try to get a copy of it into an archive asap. Norman March's paper described work he did as a Vacation Consultant. Should he be included amongst contributors to RRE? I am increasingly concerned that people who did not move on may be getting lost between the cracks. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 16:29, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

P.S. needs some restyling of names and hyperlinks, but I thought priority should be data. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 16:31, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Focus of work[edit]

Just noticed "focus of work has changed only slightly" in lead. NO!!! Focus originally radar. But by 1953 the solid state work at RRE was its greatest influence on British science. Even if it was only 10% of total personnel, it dominated RRE scientifically. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Michael P. Barnett (talkcontribs) 16:35, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Sorry -- I mistook opening comment in this Discussion for the opening of the Article. Actual lede is ok. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 21:38, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Another contributor[edit]

Mention of Michael Radcliffe ok? Will provide reference tomorrow. More details welcome. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 01:53, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Michael had honour to be editor of 1969 revision of Max Born's Atomic physics -- imprint gives authorship "By Max Born, Roger John Blin-Stoyle, J. M. Radcliffe", reprinted by Dover in 1989.

Merge with TRE and include RRDE[edit]

Particularly with material just added to TRE article, and further information in its Discussion page, I think the TRE material should be brought into this article, with info from Cotswold Archaeology mentioned there in Discussion. I don't know how to do this. And certainly would not proceed unilaterally. Some of the information might be worth including in Malvern article (why radar came to Malvern)

Also RRDE is a WK title, but not what we need here. Don't know if disambiguation is answer, or a preliminary sentence in RRDE Michael P. Barnett (talk) 02:03, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

I think you make the full name the wikipedia title. Jpg1954 (talk) 12:59, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Michael, I'd like to commend you on your improvements to these articles. However on the merger my view is that as both organisations have large and significant reputations and histories, they should be left as seperate articles unless there are overwhelming practical reasons to merge. I don't see it being particularly helpful - as an example difficulty, if the article has the RRE name, it would seem odd to include much discussion of the Worth Matravers site. Rwendland (talk) 15:45, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
My concerns about the two articles do NOT constitute overwhelming reasons to merge -- they just raise questions about organization and distribution of material.
1 Should the following names be moved from the RRE article to the TRE article because I think they are of people who left before the name of the establishment changed: Atkinson, Bellinger, Blumlein, Booker, Bowden, Bowen, Cockburn, Joan Curran, Samuel Curran, Dee (?), Hewish, Jone, Kilburn, Lovell, Ratcliffe, Reeves, Rowe, Ryle, Sciama, Sieger, F.G.Smith, F.F.Williams, Wilkes, Wynn-Williams.
2. Should the following names be in BOTH the RRE and the TRE articles, because they are of people who stayed through the name change: Chasmar, Dummer (?), Gibson, McFarlane, Moss, Penley (?), Pincherle, R.A. Smith, Uttley, Woodward.
3. How do we make sure the two lists are accurate? I was hired by TRE, but in the weeks between being notified and turning up for work, the name was changed. Also, we seem to have lost Gunn, or maybe never put him in, and I think he spanned the name change.
4. Who is going to make the changes that provide accuracy? I would not attempt it -- the wiki legalists will be screaming bloody murder for verifiability. And whilst I am certain about most of the people I mentioned, I am not sure about some and just do not know about one or two others.
5. Correspondingly, in discussion of work that was done, who can remember let alone verify which topics were dropped by the time of the name change, which started after the change, and which carried on throught it? Trying to allocate work at the time of the transition gets worse, with papers submitted with TRE as affiliation and published after the name change.
6. There is the question that puzzled me from the time I arrived in Malvern. Why were there TWO government defense labs in same town, conspicuously separate (at least I had the impression that they had been). It is the present RRE site that has the link to the Cotswold Archaeology home page that mentions the early "environmental impact" study by Air Ministry that established Malvern as a good place to do radar in, which seems relevant to why TRE cum RRE was there, but not explainable without going into the ancient history.
7. In trying to keep track of RRE and TRE and Article and Discussion, I accidentally brought up a Google search on Royal Radar Establishment, and wished I had not. There are scads of entries, including at least one Hansard report of parliamentary questions about making IR research results available to industry [3]. Mountain of material to be sifted for items to go into WK article. I don't want to Google TRE.
8. It seems a bit inconsistent that RRE has a redirect, TRE has a disambiguation, and RRDE (if it ever comes into being) will not be allowed an acronym.
9. Can anyone find out who C.E. Bellinger was. He is mentioned in R.A.Smith's obit, but I cannot find him in web searches.
10. I am not arguing for or against merger. Just expressing concerns.
11. Couldn't resist Googling Telecommunications Research Establishment. And guess what came out of the woodwork. The best article I have seen about Physics at RRE -- paper R.A.Smith presented at Royal Society: "Physics at the Radar Research Establishment, Malvern", R. A. Smith, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences Vol. 235, No. 1200 (Apr. 10, 1956), pp. 1-10, [4]
Michael P. Barnett (talk) 01:53, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

RRE lede that allows strengthening of TRE article[edit]

Here is VERY tentative suggested alternative to merger. Move all the material presently under RRE that is in the TRE time slot to TRE article, and shorten RRE lede to:

The Royal Radar Establishment (RRE) was the name, from 1957 to 1976, of a British government defense laboratory in Malvern, Worcestershire. It was formed by the merger, in 1953, of two independent government laboratories, the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) and the Radar Research and Development Establishment (RRDE). These did work for the Royal Air Force and the Army, respectively. The merged unit was called the Radar Research Establishment (RRE). This was renamed Royal Radar Establishment (and kept its abbreviation RRE) following a visit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1957.
The major specializations of RRE were research, development and production in the areas of radar, solid state physics and electronics, with particular emphasis on infra-red detectors for guided missiles, and single crystal growth, cryogenics, and experimental digital computers and information theory.
The origins of RRE, that go back to the 1930's, are covered in the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) article. This explains why TRE moved hurriedly to Malvern in May, 1942.
RRE was part of the Ministry of Supply, initially, then transferred (in 1959) to the Ministry of Aviation, then (in 1967) to the Ministry of Technology, then (in 1970) to the Ministry of Aviation Supply, then (in 1971) to the Ministry of Defence. In 1976 RRE merged with the Signals Research and Development Establishment to form the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment, which became part of the Defence Research Agency (DRA) in 1991. The DRA split on 2 June 2001 into two parts, a government body called DSTL (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) and a company destined for privatisation, which became QinetiQ.

What I am trying to do is to respect the time slot that RRE connotes, in contrast to TRE, whilst conveying a sense of dynamic evolution and continuity of staffing and activity. As regards the transfer of material to TRE, the dates of most of people are already in place, so verifiability should not be a worry. A comment could be put at start of Notables in RRE such as "several are mentioned in TRE article too".

But I repeat, this is completely tentative, and I have no "pride of authorship" that will be offended by counter views. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 16:53, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

Update Feb 7[edit]

I strengthened the TRE article by moving people there and putting more info about them, but this depleted the RRE article. However, I put in mention of the Royal Society talk by RA and the parliamentary answer.

If no objection to suggested revised lede, will put it in, with later name change history moved to body of article. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 22:55, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Update Feb 8[edit]

Just did substantial update to mention more about work done at RRE.

It can be reversed if anyone does not like it.

I think information about people in first list who just have one line at moment can be expanded from obituary of RA and paper he presented to Royal Society. Cannot do this now. Also, if no one objects, will subsume non redundant items under awards into paragraphs about individuals to whom they apply, and delete the others.

Wish someone could provide more information about Uttley. My recollection he was transferred to NPL when TREACLE had become a lost cause, with rank of CSO -- was that possible? Also, when I arrived, TREACLE seemed to be entirely his concern, not Philip's. Was TREACLE rather than TREAC a joke -- I was told the name covered the fact that it always stuck. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 15:28, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Alan Gibson[edit]

I am not sure how you are doing references, but here are two for Alan Gibson.

This one Talks about his work at the Central Laser Facility, with reference to his time at U Essex.

This one Is the Royal Society obit/biography. But I don't have a JSTOR account, so I can not see the whole thing.

Jpg1954 (talk) 20:35, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. As regards "doing them" I am working sequentially through names, used RA Smith obituary as minimal source, (for those in it), then used material in WK article if there was one, then searched on web.

I want to get minimal for people in RRE and TRE first, then extend using RA Royal Society paper mentioned above. And more extensive search if warranted (but not for a while).

As regards styling I am cutting and pasting as much as possible, and will change to consistent WK style later if necessary. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Michael P. Barnett (talkcontribs) 04:01, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Update Feb 9[edit]

For each of several members of staff, I have put in more information that is small part of articles about them individually.

I thought it worth a try to see if this would give stronger impression of what RRE did.

Result may be too cluttered -- comments on this and suggestions for restyling appreciated.

I have used material in these other articles without checking. I assume they are reliable.

Previous comment here about Woodward developing Algol 68 does not agree with statements in Coral 66 and Algol 68 and Philip Woodward. I brought present article into consistency.

Cannot get references for Moss' books now -- technical glitch.

Still cannot find more about Uttley. There should be obit somewhere. I think someone in UK might be better able to find one.

Have done bit more on TRE.

The External references became redundant.

Any objection to changing lede to paragraphs 1 to 3 of suggestion posted few days ago, with paragraph 4 as a section headed "Further administrative history" Michael P. Barnett (talk) 03:30, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Albert Uttley This has a bit

The second British defence computer was a more technically adventurous parallel processing machine called TREAC. This was designed in 1947 by Albert M. Uttley, went operational in 1953, and used a 512-word Williams-Kilburn system for fast store. The Australian Computer Museum also remind us of the work of Trevor Pearcey (1919-1998), a TRE veteran who in 1946 emigrated to Australia, where he designed the 1949 Australian CSIRAC computer, since claimed as the fifth stored program computer to be completed. ...
We must also mention Albert M. Uttley, whom we first met in Section 2.2 as the TRE boffin who designed TREAC, the first British parallel processing computer. Over the years, Uttley gradually extended his interests to include biological as well as workbench electronics. Like McCulloch, he was particularly fascinated by the logic by which neurons were interconnected, and was one of the first to describe the sort of statistical connection rules which might control the biological learning process. In Uttley (1955), he derived mathematical formulae to describe such things as dendrite distribution and axonal connections. ...
TRE's Albert Uttley was also still active in this area. Having played with mathematical predictions of dendrite density and the like [see Part 4 (Section 4.5)], he went on to model the process of neuronal maturation in the human infant's brain (Uttley, 1959). He identified two separate, but complementary, basic processes, firstly the strengthening of connections which were conditionally relevant to the system's current needs, and secondly the active deletion of those which were not. Subsequent microanatomical studies have proved him right, for by and large nature takes no chances when putting nervous systems together: far more neuroblasts are produced than are needed, and cells which fail to migrate or pathfind are simply allowed to die off. Indeed, according to Levitan and Kaczmarek (1991:305), "as many as three quarters of the neurons destined for a specific neuronal pathway may die during early embryonic development". ...

Jpg1954 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 15:41, 10 February 2011 (UTC).

He seems to have been at the Nat'l Phys Lab, and then at U Sussex. Jpg1954 (talk) 16:05, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Also this which, in addition to many other references, has a partial biography pg 103 - 110. Jpg1954 (talk) 16:20, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Many thanks. Sorry did not comment sooner. The material you posted provides verifiability of Uttley's work on design of TREAC and his interest in cybernetics. It also provides considerable material that could be used in articles on Donald MacKay, Trevor Pearcey, Max Newman, TREAC etc. At moment, comment about Uttley is embarrassingly thin. Will lengthen it with references when I finish this posting.

The material does raise following questions which I would like to side step. Article about Philip Woodward states "He was responsible for one of the UK's first electronic computers (TREAC)" in the opening sentence. When I was at RRE, I got the impression that no-one took TREAC seriously besides Uttley, and that it was his creation. There is no verification in the Woodward page for the mention of TREAC, and the mention of ALGOL 68 is wildly incorrect -- it is verifiably CORAL 66. Also, I think the opening sentence is inadequate -- I posted comment about this on Malvern Talk page. But I feel it inappropriate for me to change the article about him. I am uneasy about including Pearcey in RRE article absent more detail. (Getting increasingly puzzled -- Woodward article has link to TREAC that I think led to an empty article yesterday that has now disappeared!)

The material you cite also contains considerable information on history of computing, cybernetics etc. and constitute extremely helpful sources. I hope it does not seem ungracious if I mention unease about some of the statements (minute in relation to totality). Trying to download it again paralyzes my PC, so from memory, when I looked at it earlier I saw following:

1. Max Newman was senior professor of mathematics at Cambridge -- he was a lecturer, and became Professor at Manchester.

2. The National Accounting Machine was dismissed as "humble" -- it was the mainstay of the construction of tide tables and tables of basic mathematical functions for many years -- John von Neumann and the National Accounting Machine, John Todd, SIAM Review, Vol. 16, No. 4 (Oct., 1974), pp. 526-530.

3. "Donald MacKay built computing machines at King's" -- depends on what you mean by computing machines as with many things he spoke about -- that included 2nd year course on introduction to quantum mechanics I took as undergraduate as part of ancillary physics curriculum -- fortunately we were taught quantum mechanics by chemistry faculty, too.

But these quibbles do not detract from considerable potential value of links as source for WK articles.

You asked in earlier posting about my search methods. I think I omitted access to electronic journals (via JSTOR etc) but did mention bibliographic databases that include SCOPUS, Web of Science. I get impression you are using very different tools and strategies -- I have tried repeatedly to get info on Uttley without success. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 16:47, 13 February 2011 (UTC) Michael P. Barnett (talk) 16:47, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

The Uttley sentence has been lengthened, with references. I did not mention move to NPL (which I remember, but not verifiably) or Sussex -- if there is verification of these in the two websites you provided I missed them.

The reference now numbered 1 is an asset and a problem. It provides structured information about work of Physics department, mention of several more people (including the Director, W.J.Richards who I really think should be included), topics not yet mentioned, photos (including beautiful microphoto Bill Bardsley took). BUT -- it higlights that I have been adding material about PHYSICS DEPARTMENT of RRE, not the rest, about which I have no sources. Don't know how to deal with this.

Using RA's article to explain difference between work of TRE and RRDE moves it to top, and makes skewing look worse. If there is any other reference that can be used for RRDE that would be welcome.

I cleaned up the lede a bit to remove redundancies. Hope result is ok. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 17:36, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Uttley U Sussex says "Uttley retired age 60 in 1966, and joined the Experimental Psychology Laboratory, University of Sussex where he was Research Professor until 1973"

Jpg1954 (talk) 01:15, 14 February 2011 (UTC)


is a paper which gives his affiliation as U Sussex "Methods of simulating the behaviour of granule cells in hippocampus based on informon theory A. M. Uttley Laboratory of Experimental Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, Sussex, England Received 11 May 1977. Available online 15 December 2004." Jpg1954 (talk) 01:33, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Embarrassment of riches[edit]

I wrote the following before Jpg1954 bailed me out with Uttley in Sussex and ran into edit conflict when it was being posted.

I should have left well alone.

Robin Smith's Royal Society lecture thanked W. J. Richards, the Director. I ran a Google search on him, and found an Honours List (primarily or entirely for RAF and related defence work) in which he was named Companion of the Order of the Bath. When I tried to find it again, I could not. But I struck the Cold War Hot Sciences site [5] This contains extensive information of TRE, RRDE (enough for a short article on RRDE) and the successor organizations to RRE. There is enough about departments outside Physics in RRE to provide good balance. Also extensive information on outside contractors, names of projects. It gives verifiability to Uttley's move to NPL. Then I looked at the Penley archives [6] These mention many senior people, outside physics department, and in RRDE as well as TRE (one at RRDE sufficiently senior to have been knighted already). Unfortunately, some of the links are blind.

Then, the Google search on Richards gave me verifiability of his CB, almost. I get hit [7] for article about Richards in New scientist, Volume 11, Issues 242-254, but without a full reference, and I do not have access to this magazine. Also, I get hit [8] to article in Aeroplane volume 93, page 524, with the teaser "Delegates were welcomed by Mr. WJ Richards, CB, CBE. B.Sc, Director of RRE," that shows his Companion of Bath status. But I cannot get to this magazine either.

Can these hits be used for verifiability, or is detailed reference needed. I am trying to dig out, and seem to be digging deeper. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 01:58, 14 February 2011 (UTC) I have access to the New Scientist on-line archives, but they only go back to 1989.Jpg1954 (talk) 16:11, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Changes March 6[edit]

Just needed to look at Cold War, Hot Science apropos non-WK matters, and made the current changes while I had material at hand. Also, can get to material re Richards CB in near future. Concerned that article is still very skewed towards Physics Division. The Cold War, Hot Science has a lot more to help unskew, but not now. Have started process to get Band Structure conference proceedings in durable DataSpace. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 22:03, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Duplicate entry[edit]

Michael J. Radcliffe is listed twice. Not sure which one should be removed. Jpg1954 (talk) 15:10, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

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  1. ^ M.P. Barnett (ed), Band Structure: Theory and Experiment. Proceedings of a Symposium Held at R.R.E. Malvern on September 27th and 28th 1954.