Perry, John

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b. 14 February 1850 Garvagh, Co. Londonderry, Ireland (now Northern Ireland)
d. 4 August 1920 London, England
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Irish engineer, mathematician and technical-education pioneer.
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Educated at Queens College, Belfast, Perry became Physics Master at Clifton College in 1870 until 1874. This was followed by a brief period of study under Sir William Thomson in Glasgow. He was then appointed Professor of Engineering at the Imperial College of Japan in Tokyo, where he formed a remarkable research partnership with W.E. Ayrton. On his return to England he became Professor of Engineering and Mathematics at City and Guilds College, Finsbury. Perry was the co-inventor with Ayrton of many electrical measuring instruments between 1880 and 1890, including an energy meter incorporating pendulum clocks and the first practicable portable ammeter and voltmeter, the latter being extensively used until superseded by instruments of greater accuracy. An optical indicator for high-speed steam engines was among Perry's many patents. Having made a notable contribution to education, particularly in the teaching of mathematics, he turned his attention in the latter period of his life to the improvement of the gyrostatic compass.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS 1885. President, Institution of Electrical Engineers 1900. Whitworth Scholar 1870.
Bibliography
28 April 1883, jointly with Ayrton, British patent no. 2,156 (portable ammeter and voltmeter).
1900, England's Neglect of Science, London (for Perry's collected papers on technical education).
Further Reading
Obituary, 1920, Journal of the Institution of Electrical Engineers 58:901–2.
D.W.Jordan, 1985, "The cry for useless knowledge: education for a new Victorian technology", Proceedings of the Institution of Electrical Engineers 132 (Part A): 587– 601.
GW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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