Electric award for magnet man

BAE's electronic warfare room
BAE's electronic warfare room
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BAE’s top electromagnetics scientist has been handed a Visiting Professorship by the University of Liverpool.

Ian MacDiarmid, from Blackpool, is an expert on electromagnetic interactions in nature and in the man-made world, and how they significantly influence the life we all take for granted.

And he helped develop the world’s first electronic warfare room, at Warton, and performed the world’s first lightning test on a powered aircraft – among many other achievements.

Electromagnetic fields are the invisible force behind our phones, our wi-fi, and our Bluetooth – and even our TV and radio.

But their presence, both man-made and natural, can at high enough levels disrupt electronic systems or even pose a radiation hazard to people. Understanding them is therefore of crucial importance.

Ian said: “I am really delighted to have this honour.

“It means a great deal to me. For some time I have been wanting to develop closer links between industry and academia in this field. There is no doubt that electromagnetism continues to be a growth area. It is such a fundamental part of modern life with our increasing dependence on communications and sensors.“

In the world of aviation, an understanding of electromagnetism is vital for flight safety, communications and the proper function of electrical systems – and in understanding, developing and controlling the radar and infra-red signature of aircraft.

Challenges facing the aircraft include lightning strike, a nuclear electromagnetic pulse and flight through high intensity radiated fields.

His work, and that of the Electromagnetic Engineering team at Warton, has pioneered major advances in aviation – not least helping ensure today’s aircraft, built out of complex materials, have survivable and robust systems.