Eccles, William Henry

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b. 23 August 1875 Ulverston, Cumbria, England
d. 27 April 1966 Oxford, England
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English physicist who made important contributions to the development of radio communications.
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After early education at home and at private school, Eccles won a scholarship to the Royal College of Science (now Imperial College), London, where he gained a First Class BSc in physics in 1898. He then worked as a demonstrator at the college and studied coherers, for which he obtained a DSc in 1901. Increasingly interested in electrical engineering, he joined the Marconi Company in 1899 to work on oscillators at the Poole experimental radio station, but in 1904 he returned to academic life as Professor of Mathematics and Physics and Department Head at South West Polytechnic, Chelsea. There he discovered ways of using the negative resistance of galena-crystal detectors to generate oscillations and gave a mathematical description of the operation of the triode valve. In 1910 he became Reader in Engineering at University College, London, where he published a paper explaining the reflection of radio waves by the ionosphere and designed a 60 MHz short-wave transmitter. From 1916 to 1926 he was Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering at the Finsbury City \& Guilds College and a private consulting engineer. During the First World War he was a military scientific adviser and Secretary to the Joint Board of Scientific Societies. After the war he made many contributions to electronic-circuit development, many of them (including the Eccles-Jordan "flip-flop" patented in 1918 and used in binary counters) in conjunction with F.W.Jordan, about whom little seems to be known. Illness forced Eccles's premature academic retirement in 1926, but he remained active as a consultant for many years.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS 1921. President, Institution of Electrical Engineers, 1926–7. President, Physical Society 1929. President, Radio Society of Great Britain.
Bibliography
1912, "On the diurnal variation of the electric waves occurring in nature and on the propagation of electric waves round the bend of the earth", Proceedings of the Royal Society 87:79. 1919, with F.W.Jordan, "Method of using two triode valves in parallel for generating oscillations", Electrician 299:3.
1915, Handbook of Wireless Telegraphy.
1921, Continuous Wave Wireless Telegraphy.
Further Reading
1971, "William Henry Eccles, 1875–1966", Biographical Memoirs of the Royal Society, London, 17.
KF

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

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