Biography of Philip Dee
Department of Natural Philosophy 1952
Philip Ivor Dee (1904-1983) was a physicist who worked on the development of airborne radar during the Second World War and was responsible for forging the University's reputation for research in Nuclear Physics. He was Professor of Natural Philosophy from 1943 until 1972, and the Philip Ivor Dee Memorial Lecture is named for him.
Born in Stroud, Dee studied at Sidney Sussex College and Pembroke College and worked at the Cavendish Laboratory during the 1930s as a researcher and, from 1934 to 1943, as Lecturer in Physics. He led a team of scientists which developed new airborne radar equipment during the war and he was awarded an OBE in 1943 and a CBE in 1946.
In 1943 Dee was appointed to the Chair of Natural Philosophy at the University, taking up his duties at the end of the war. He was successful in 1946 in attracting Government funding to locate a 30 meV electron synchrotron at the University (the construction of a a more advanced 300 meV machine was agreed in 1948) to facilitate advanced research in particle physics, and the UGC was persuaded to fund an extension to the Natural Philosophy Department to house the equipment. In 1952 he won the Hughes Medal for his distinguished studies on the disintegration of atomic nuclei, particularly those using the Wilson cloud chamber technique. He retired in 1972, and was awarded an honorary DSc by the University of Strathclyde in 1980.