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Knock, Knock .... Who Was There?

loss of 173 bombers over England in early 1941 – which persuaded Hitler to abandon his planned invasion of England. Another Nobel Prize-winner who worked in the same field as Megaw, Sir Edward Appleton, later wrote that “the practical development of the cavity magnetron … was due to him. Yet, smilingly, he let the credit go wholly elsewhere”. Megaw was awarded the MBE in 1943 for his achievement.


Te Irishman continued to serve on war-time radio committees, paying occasional visits to Northern Ireland, and travelling to North America for conferences in 1944. In January 1946 he was employed by the Royal Naval Scientific Service, being appointed its Director of Physical Research in 1950. In his final years he exam- ined the links between scientific problems in astronomy, meteorol- ogy and radio, and his work on the theory of tropospheric forward scatter was published in May 1957 by the Institution of Electrical Engineering and posthumously granted its highest award. His sud- den death, aged only 48, on 25 January 1956 was ascribed to the after-effects of rheumatic fever and the strain of over-work.


His temperament was one of good humour and modesty, combined with natural talent; he could read and speak French, German and Italian. Despite all the vilification which he received at school, and the abstruse and often secretive nature of his work, as one friend recorded in an obituary in Te Times: “He was no blinkered boffin, but a man of wide interests [particularly in poetry, literature and music] and good taste, with a civilised man’s tolerance of people and views that were alien to him. He enjoyed the good things of life … Above all, he never allowed his intellectual preoccupations to dry up his generous and affectionate nature”. Eric’s Headmaster


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