Randall, Sir John Turton

Randall, Sir John Turton
SUBJECT AREA: Medical technology
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b. 23 March 1905 Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, England
d. 16 June 1984 Edinburgh, Scotland
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English physicist and biophysicist, primarily known for the development, with Boot of the cavity magnetron.
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Following secondary education at Ashton-inMakerfield Grammar School, Randall entered Manchester University to read physics, gaining a first class BSc in 1925 and his MSc in 1926. From 1926 to 1937 he was a research physicist at the General Electric Company (GEC) laboratories, where he worked on luminescent powders, following which he became Warren Research Fellow of the Royal Society at Birmingham University, studying electronic processes in luminescent solids. With the outbreak of the Second World War he became an honorary member of the university staff and transferred to a group working on the development of centrimetric radar. With Boot he was responsible for the development of the cavity magnetron, which had a major impact on the development of radar.
When Birmingham resumed its atomic research programme in 1943, Randall became a temporary lecturer at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. The following year he was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of St Andrews, but in 1946 he moved again to the Wheatstone Chair of Physics at King's College, London. There his developing interest in biophysical research led to the setting up of a multi-disciplinary group in 1951 to study connective tissues and other biological components, and in 1950– 5 he was joint Editor of Progress in Biophysics. From 1961 until his retirement in 1970 he was Professor of Biophysics at King's College and for most of that time he was also Chairman of the School of Biological Sciences. In addition, for many years he was honorary Director of the Medical Research Council Biophysics Research Unit.
After he retired he returned to Edinburgh and continued to study biological problems in the university zoology laboratory.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Knighted 1962. FRS 1946. FRS Edinburgh 1972. DSc Manchester 1938. Royal Society of Arts Thomas Gray Memorial Prize 1943. Royal Society Hughes Medal 1946. Franklin Institute John Price Wetherill Medal 1958. City of Pennsylvania John Scott Award 1959. (All jointly with Boot for the cavity magnetron.)
Bibliography
1934, Diffraction of X-Rays by Amorphous Solids, Liquids \& Gases (describes his early work).
1953, editor, Nature \& Structure of Collagen.
1976, with H.Boot, "Historical notes on the cavity magnetron", Transactions of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers ED-23: 724 (gives an account of the cavity-magnetron development at Birmingham).
Further Reading
M.H.F.Wilkins, "John Turton Randall"—Bio-graphical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, London: Royal Society.
KF

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

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