Professor Ramsay Shearman, 13th December 2019

| August 6, 2020

Professor Emeritus, University of Birmingham, Ramsay Shearman DSc FREng FIET FRMetS FIEEE, 17 November 1924 – 13 December 2019

Awarded the Faraday medal of the IEE for achievements in HF Radar and Sea-State sensing

Professor Ramsay Shearman

Professor Ramsay Shearman was born in Cambridge on 17th November 1924. Whilst studying Electrical Engineering at Imperial College London during the Second World War he worked in the Post Office Research Station laboratory where key parts of the Bletchley Park Colossus decoding machine were being developed. In 1945 he was drafted to the Admiralty Signals Establishment as an Experimental Officer where he worked until 1947 on shore radio stations including a mission in support of the Royal Family to South Africa. In 1961, as Principal Scientific Officer DSIR Radio & Space Research Station (1947-1961) he was dispatched to Canada for six months to join the NASA team designing the successful Alouette Topside Sounder satellite.

In 1962, he joined the University of Birmingham as a Senior Lecturer in Electromagnetism and set up the Radio Research Group. In 1965 he was appointed Professor and later became Head of the Postgraduate School in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, a position he held until 1986.

“Ramsay had the rare distinction of making major contributions to both forms of HF radar. Initially his work focussed on the physics of the ionosphere, determining its structure and properties as a medium for radio wave propagation. This knowledge proved invaluable during the development of HF skywave ‘over-the-horizon’ radars during the Cold War. Later his interest turned to investigation of the surface wave mode, and its exploitation for remote sensing of sea state. He addressed and answered critical questions relating to the propagation of the surface wave, its attenuation with distance, and the scattering processes that encode the sea state information on the radar echo. His group at the University of Birmingham became a leading centre for research into the theory and practice of this remarkable technology; a paper Ramsay published in the authoritative British journal The Radio and Electronic Engineer, in 1980, remains today as one of the cardinal references in the field, four decades on.” (Prof Stuart Anderson, University of Adelaide)

After retiring from the University he continued to work a Consultant including with the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, subsequently QinetiQ.

In 1986 he was awarded the Faraday Medal of the IEE for his achievements in HF Radar and sea-state sensing and in 2002 a Higher Doctorate (DSc) by the University of London for his Scientific publications over 55 years. Ramsay passed away aged 95 on 13th December 2019.


Tribute by Zoe Shearman

Category: Silent Keys