Robert Watson-Watt, British physicist

Robert Watson-Watt, British physicist

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Credit: GARY BROWN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Robert Watson-Watt (1892-1973), British physicist and pioneer of radar, in front of a radar screen. Watson-Watt worked at the Meteorological Office and later became head of the National Physical Laboratory. During World War I he worked on radio location of thunderstorms. In 1935 he proposed the development of radio detection and ranging (RADAR) system for aircraft location. Radio waves reflected by aircraft allowed their distance and position to be displayed on a screen. The system was vital for defence in World War II, and has become an invaluable tool in detecting objects beyond visual range. Watson-Watt was knighted in 1942.

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