Charles Oatley

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Sir Charles Oatley
Born 14 February 1904 (1904-02-14)
Frome, Somerset, England
Died 11 March 1996 (1996-03-12) (aged 92)
Residence UK
Nationality British
Fields Physicist and Electronic engineer
Institutions Radio Accessories
English Electric Valve Company
King's College London
University of Cambridge
Alma mater St. John's College, Cambridge
Academic advisors Edward Victor Appleton
Doctoral students Haroon Ahmed
Alec Broers
T. H. Philip Chang
Thomas Everhart
C. W. B. Grigson
Dennis McMullan
R. Fabian W. Pease
Ken Saunders
Colin J. R. Sheppard
Ken C. A. Smith
Garry Stewart
Richard F. M. Thornley
Oliver Wells
Other notable students Peter Spreadbury
Known for Scanning electron microscope
Influences John D. Cockcroft
Influenced Constance Tipper
Notable awards Duddell Medal (1969)
Royal Medal (1969)
Faraday Medal (1970)
Mullard Award (1973)
Potts Medal (1989)

Sir Charles William Oatley OBE, FRS[1] FREng (1904–1996) was Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of Cambridge, 1960–1971, and developer of one of the first commercial scanning electron microscopes.[2] He was also a founder member of the Royal Academy of Engineering.


He was born on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1904.

He was educated at Bedford Modern School and St. John's College, Cambridge. He was a director of the English Electric Valve Company from 1966 to 1985.

In 1969 he was elected to the Royal Society. He was knighted in 1974.

He received an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) from the University of Bath in 1977.[3] He retired from the English Electric Valve Company in 1985.

He was awarded the Howard N. Potts Medal in 1989. He died on March 11, 1996.

Graduate students

Oatley and the graduate students he supervised made substantial contributions, particularly to the development of the scanning electron microscope (SEM).[4][5][6]

"A project for a Ph.D. student must provide him with good training and, if he is doing experimental work, there is much to be said for choosing a problem which involves the construction or modification of some fairly complicated apparatus. I have always felt that university research in engineering should be adventurous and should not mind tackling speculative projects."[5]:12

His students included:


  1. Smith, K. C. A. (1998). "Sir Charles William Oatley, O. B. E. 14 February 1904-11 March 1996". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 44: 331. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1998.0022.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Everhart, T. E. (1996). "Persistence pays off: Sir Charles Oatley and the scanning electron microscope" (PDF). Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures. 14 (6): 3620. doi:10.1116/1.588737.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Honorary Graduates 1966 to 1988". University of Bath. Retrieved 19 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Hawkes, Peter W. (2004). Advances in imaging and electron physics: Volume 133, Sir Charles Oatley and the Scanning Electron Microscope (1st ed.). Oxford: Elsevier Academic Press. ISBN 978-0123859853.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Rodenburg, J.M. (1997). Electron microscopy and analysis 1997 : proceedings of the Institute of Physics Electron Microscopy and Analysis Group conference, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, 2-5 September 1997. Bristol: Institute of Physics Pub. pp. 11–16. ISBN 978-0750304412. Retrieved 19 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Ratinac, Kyle R. (2008). "Great moment 9: Scanning electron microscopy". In Ratinac, Kyle R. (ed.). 50 great moments : celebrating the golden jubilee of the University of Sydney's Electron Microscope Unit. University of Sydney, N.S.W.: Sydney University Press. pp. 71–81. ISBN 9781920898762. Retrieved 19 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links