Porter, Arthur 1910 - 2010

English; British

(1910-2010), computer scientist and physicist

Arthur Porter, born in Ulvertson in 1910 was a pioneer in interdisciplinary research. He graduated in physics from Manchester University in 1933 followed by his PhD at Manchester in 1936 where he worked with Douglas Hartree, one of the most influential computer pioneers of his day. As part of his PhD thesis he developed an analogue differential analyser, which he constructed from Meccano parts. Porter was named a Commonwealth Fund Fellow at MIT, 1937-1939. From 1939 to 1946, he served with the Admiralty Research Laboratory and the National Physical Laboratory on war related work. Dr. Porter was Professor of Instrument Technology at Royal Military College, 1946-1949, Head of Research at Ferranti Ltd in Toronto, 1949-1955, and returned to the United Kingdom to become Professor in Electrical Engineering at Imperial College, London, 1955-1958.

Dr. Porter’s contributions to research were widely recognized. Among other things, he served on the Glassco Royal Commission in Canada. He was Chair of the Science Committee at the Ontario Science Centre, Chair of the science advisory committee for EXPO 67, Chair of The Royal Commission on Electric Power Planning for Ontario, 1977-1981, and was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1970. His autobiography So Many Hills to Climb: My Journey as a Computer Pioneer is filled with vivid accounts of both his personal experiences and professional accomplishments.

He died aged 99 after suffering a stroke in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on 26th February 2010.