Watson-Watt, Robert

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Watson-Watt, Robert Gender: M
Robert Alexander Watson-Watt
born on 13 April 1892 at 05:15 (= 05:15 AM )
Place Brechin, Scotland, 56n44, 2w40
Timezone GMT h0e (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Wilsons
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_aricol.18.gif 23°44' s_mo.18.gif s_scocol.18.gif 04°02 Asc.s_aricol.18.gif 24°35'

Robert Watson-Watt


Scottish inventor and electronic engineer who developed the radio locator (the British equivalent of the American radar), considered to be one of the most effective defense mechanisms against the German air strength during 1940 and World War II’s Battle of Britain. For this achievement, he received many honors, including knighthood in 1942.

Born Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, he received most of his education in local schools and graduated from University College with a B.S. and special honors in electrical engineering. Later in his life he was awarded the honorary degrees of LL.D. by the University of St. Andrews in 1943 and D.Sc. by the University of Toronto.

He began his career as an assistant professor of physics at his alma mater, University College, in 1912. In 1915, he was appointed to the first of his many civil service posts. From 1917 until 1921 he was meteorologist-in-charge at the Royal Aircraft Establishment. While employed as a weatherman, he patented his first radiolocation device in 1919. In the following years, he focused more intensely on radio research, receiving 14 patents for improved radio direction finders.

In 1921, Watson-Watt became superintendent of the radio research stations of the Government’s Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. From 1933 to 1936 he was superintendent of the radio department of the National Physical Laboratory. On 2 April 1935, he received his 11th patent relating to wireless direction and position - considered a landmark in the history of the radio locator. Between 1936 and 1938, he was superintendent of the Bawdsey Research Station of the Air Ministry, where he led the team studying radiolocation.

A year before the outbreak of World War II, Watson-Watt was made director of the Communications Development of the Air Ministry. After 1939 he was appointed to the posts of scientific adviser on telecommunications to the Air Ministry (1940) and vice-controller of Communications Equipment in the Ministry of Aircraft Production (1942). He was also deputy chairman of the Radio Board of the War Cabinet.

In 1941, he was sent to the United States to consult with Army and Air Force chiefs and provide to them the full range of British know-how in the field of radiolocation. Some American scientists had developed a device similar to the Watson-Watt’s radio locator, but from that time on, radar - as the device was officially renamed - became a joint effort of America and England.

Watson-Watt’s writings have been in meteorology and radio engineering. He wrote "Application of the Cathode Ray Oscillograph in Radio Research" with J. F. Herd and L. H. Bainbridge Bell. In 1935, he put a series of broadcasts into book form under the title "Through the Weather House."

His honors include election to Fellowship by the Royal Society for his contribution to radio engineering. He was knighted in 1942.

He met and married Margaret Robertson in 1916, a student at University College. She later assisted him in many of his important experiments, and early in World War II, he trained three of his typists as the first radiolocation crews.

He died on 5 December 1973 at age 81 in Inverness, Scotland.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Work : New Career 1912 (Assistant professor)
  • Work : New Career 1915 (Civil service post)
  • Relationship : Marriage 1916 (Margaret Robertson)
  • Work : New Career 1917 (Meteorologist)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1919 (First patent)
  • Work : New Job 1921 (Radio research stations)
  • Work : New Job 1933 (Superintendant of the radio department)
  • Work : Great Achievement 1935 (Invented radar device)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1935 (First book released)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 2 April 1935 (Eleventh patent)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : New Job 1939 (Scientific development on telecommunications)
  • Work : New Job 1941 (U.S. as a consult)
  • Work : Prize 1942 (Knighted)

Source Notes

B.C. in hand from the Wilsons, obtained by Buell Huggins


  • Traits : Personality : Eccentric (Originality, inventor)
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (Age 81)
  • Vocation : Engineer : Electrical
  • Vocation : Travel : Hotel/Motel/Resort (Theme parks)
  • Notable : Extraordinary Talents : For Abstract thought
  • Notable : Awards : Knighted (1942)
  • Notable : Famous : Historic figure (Invented radar)
  • Notable : Famous : Founder/ originator (Invented radar)