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Professor Hugh Griffiths

FULLY BOOKED Reflections on the history of the radar

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Reflections on the history of the radar

Radar has a long and fascinating history, with some surprising twists and turns. The lecture will give an account of radar, from its first demonstration through to the present. Greatest emphasis will be on radar development in World War II, making use of recently declassified material from the Public Records Office at Kew, and will include:

  • The invention of radar;
  • Watson Watt’s contribution, Bawdsey, and the development of Chain Home;
  • Early airborne radar; German radar, and the Bruneval Raid;
  • Radar detection of V-2 rockets.
  • Modern radar benefits from the huge advances in computing power, and is used in applications as diverse as high-resolution imaging from aircraft and from satellites, air traffic control, through to detection of abandoned landmines.


Hugh Griffiths

Hugh Griffiths holds the THALES/Royal Academy Chair of RF Sensors in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at University College London, England.  From 2006–2008 he was Principal of the Defence Academy College of Management and Technology. He received the MA degree in Physics from Oxford University in 1975, then spent three years working in industry, before joining University College London, where he received the PhD degree in 1986 and the DSc(Eng) degree in 2000, and served as Head of Department from 2001 – 2006.

His research interests include radar and sonar systems and signal processing (particularly synthetic aperture radar and bistatic and multistatic radar), and antenna measurement techniques.  He has published over four hundred papers and technical articles in the fields of radar, antennas and sonar.  In 1996 he received the IEEE AESS Fred Nathanson Award (Radar Systems Panel Award), and in 2012 he was awarded the IET A.F. Harvey Prize for his work on bistatic radar.  He has also received the Brabazon Premium of the IERE, the Mountbatten and Maxwell Premium Awards of the IEE, and the 2015 IEEE AES Mimno Award.  He is a Fellow of the IET (previously IEE), Fellow of the IEEE, and in 1997 he was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

He served as President of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society for 2012/2013, and he is an IEEE AES Distinguished Lecturer. He has been a member of the IEEE AES Radar Systems Panel since 1989, serving as Chair from 2007 – 2009, and chaired the Working Group which revised the IEEE Radar Definitions Standard P686 and reaffirmed the Radar Letter Band Standard. Most recently, with Chris Baker and Dave Adamy, he led the revision of the classic Stimson’s Introduction to Airborne Radar book.