National Physical Laboratory

NotableNotable individuals

Since its establishment in 1900, NPL has been home to a stream of exceptional scientists who have made major and varied contributions to the world.

Louis Essen

1908 – 1997

Louis Essen built the world's first working caesium clock and paved the way for a new and better definition of the second


Olga Taussky-Todd

1906 – 1995

Olga Taussky-Todd was a "torchbearer for matrix theory"


Sir Walter Stanley Stiles

1901 – 1985

Sir Walter was one of the greatest visual scientists of the twentieth century


Sir Robert Watson-Watt

1892 – 1973

The pioneering work that Sir Robert started at NPL resulted in the design and installation of radar on the south and east coasts of England


Walter Rosenhain

1875 – 1934

A brilliant practical and theoretical researcher of metallurgy, Rosenhain established NPL as one of the world's leading research labs in the field

Jim Wilkinson

Jim Wilkinson

1919 – 1986

Jim Wilkinson led the team that built the Pilot ACE


Donald Davies

1924 – 2000

Donald Davies' work on packet-switched data communication heavily influenced the development of the Internet


Paul Vigoureux

1903 – 1999

Paul Vigoureux's work on the International System of Units had a profound effect on the exactness of science and technology


Alan Turing

1912 – 1954

Alan Turing's work was instrumental in placing NPL at the forefront of computer technology


Sir Thomas Stanton

1865 – 1931

Sir Thomas was a pioneer in the science of wind tunnel testing

Donald McLean

Donald McLean

1915 – 2017

Donald McLean had an important and enduring influence on the science and engineering of materials for structural applications, including deformation and failure at elevated temperatures

George Clarkson Kaye: Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

George Clarkson Kaye

1880 – 1941

Kaye played a leading role in protecting workers from the harmful effects of radiation

Bryan Kibble

1938 – 2016

Bryan Kibble's pioneering work on the Kibble balance has enabled accurate measurements of numerous physical constants, and is set to aid in the redefinition of the SI kilogram


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