Laithwaite, Eric Roberts

Laithwaite, Eric Roberts
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b. 14 June 1921 Atherton, Lancashire, England
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English engineer, notable contributor to the development of linear electric motors.
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Laithwaite's education at Kirkham Grammar School and Regent Street Polytechnic, London, was followed by service in the Royal Air Force. After entering Manchester University in 1946 and graduating in 1949, he joined the university staff and became Secretary to the Inaugural Conference of the Ferranti Mark I computer. In 1964 he moved to Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, and became Professor of Heavy Electrical Engineering. From 1967 to 1976 he also held the post of External Professor of Applied Electricity at the Royal Institution. Research into the use of linear induction motors as shuttle drives in weaving looms was followed by investigations into their application to conveyors in industrial processes and as high-speed propulsion units for railway vehicles. With considerable involvement in a tracked hovercraft project in the 1960s and 1970s, he proposed the concept of transverse flux and the magnetic river high-speed linear induction machine. Linear motors and electromagnetic levitation have been applied to high-speed propulsion in the United States, France and Japan.
Laithwaite has written five books and over one hundred papers on the subjects of linear motors and electromagnetic levitation. Two series of Christmas lectures were presented by him at the Royal Institution.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Royal Society S.G.Brown Medal 1966. Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers Nikola Tesla Award 1986.
Bibliography
1966, Induction Machines for Special Purposes, London.
1970, Propulsion Without Wheels, London (discusses properties and applications of linear induction motors).
1977 (ed.), Transport Without Wheels, London (describes the design and applications of linear electric motors).
1987, A History of Linear Electric Motors, London (provides a general historical survey).
Further Reading
B.Bowers, 1982, A History of Electric Light and Power, London, pp. 261–4 (provides an account of early linear motors).
M.Poloujadoff, 1980, The Theory of Linear Induction Motors, Oxford (for a comparison of analytical methods recommended by various investigators).
GW

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

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