Ramsay Edwin Douglas Shearman (OK 1943) died December 13, 2019

Professor Edwin Douglas Ramsay Shearman – Died after a short illness aged 95.

Shearman was a radar pioneer and his work on shortwave radar was ground breaking. Stuart Anderson, a professor of physics at the University of Adelaide, praised Shearman’s important work in the field saying. “His contributions impact on shipping, fishing, coastal erosion modelling, search and rescue, pollution, transport, extraction of wave energy, and countless other human activities”.

Ramsay Shearman (Edwin Douglas Ramsay Shearman) was born on 17th November 1924 in Cambridge, the only child of Sir Harold and Lady Shearman, and was educated at Bedford Modern School and King’s College School in Wimbledon.

Shearman rowed at Imperial College London, where he was awarded a first class degree in electrical engineering in 1945. He spent his summer holiday of 1944, at the height of the German V1 bombing campaign, at Marconi’s in Hackbridge, south London; his six-mile bus journey there was hazardous. “When we heard the motorbike noise of the flying bomb overhead we listened for the engine stopping and immediately ducked, knowing that the dive into the ground was starting, and waited for the bang,” he said.

His first job after graduating was with the Admiralty Signal Establishment in Haslemere, Surrey, where he worked on high-frequency communications. He then joined the government’s Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, where he worked with Sir Robert Watson-Watt and Arnold Wilkins, the first British radar pioneers.

In 1955 Shearman met Rosalind Morris at a dance, they married that year and had three daughters.

In October 1957, during the International Geophysical Year, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, and it was by tracking the satellite that Shearman made a breakthrough in understanding the ionosphere. The sea-state radar (as it was known) that he used could detect low-flying aircraft and because of this he attracted the attention of the RAF and the US air force, and he spent 1960-62 with Nasa. He was part of the Nasa group that helped to design the Alouette satellite that mapped the upper half of the ionosphere over a large part of the Earth.

n 1962 Shearman became a senior lecturer in electromagnetism at the University of Birmingham, later becoming head of the postgraduate school. He continued to advise the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ.

Ramsay Shearman is survived by his daughters: Susan, Naomi and Zoë. His wife Rosalind Shearman nee Morris died in 2010.

Source: Times, The (United Kingdom), Jan 25, 2020, p49, 1p
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