Monday, 6 May 2013

Robert Watson-Watt: Father of RADAR

Whilst on the theme of poetry, one of my favourites 'Rough Justice' comes from the pen of Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt (RAWW) the pioner (and in my view, the father) of RAdio Detection And Ranging (RADAR).
Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt KCB FRS FRAeS
13th April 1892 – 5th December 1973

The poem relates to RAWW being pulled over for speeding thanks to the police officer's radar gun. Legend has it that as the officer wrote out the ticket, Watson-Watt remarked, 'Had I known what you were going to do with it (RADAR) I would never have invented it!'

Rough Justice
Pity Sir Robert Watson-Watt, 
strange target of this radar plot,
And thus, with others I can mention, 
the victim of his own invention.
His magical all-seeing eye 
enabled cloud-bound planes to fly,
but now by some ironic twist, 
it spots the speeding motorist
and bites,
no doubt with legal wit, 
the hand that once created it !

Sitting alongside William Shockley and so many others, Watson Watt possesses probably the cheekiest face of all my scientific and technologist heroes.

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