Sir John Randall

Knight Bachelor (from 1962)

Died aged c. 79

Sir John Turton Randall, FRS FRSE (23 March 1905 – 16 June 1984) was an English physicist and biophysicist, credited with radical improvement of the cavity magnetron, an essential component of centimetric wavelength radar, which was one of the keys to the Allied victory in the Second World War. It is also the key component of microwave ovens. Randall collaborated with Harry Boot, and they produced a valve that could spit out pulses of microwave radio energy on a wavelength of 10 cm. On the significance of their invention, Professor of military history at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, David Zimmerman, states: "The magnetron remains the essential radio tube for shortwave radio signals of all types. It not only changed the course of the war by allowing us to develop airborne radar systems, it remains the key piece of technology that lies at the heart of your microwave oven today. The cavity magnetron's invention changed the world." Randall also led the King's College, London team which worked on the structure of DNA. Randall's deputy, Professor Maurice Wilkins, shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with James Watson and Francis Crick of the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge for the determination of the structure of DNA. His other staff included Rosalind Franklin, Raymond Gosling, Alex Stokes and Herbert Wilson, all involved in research on DNA.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

John Randall and Harry Boot first operated a Cavity Magnetron to produce radar waves here on 21 Feb 1940

Nuffield, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom where they was