Sir Charles Kao added to Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

General / Fri 11th Mar 2022 at 09:12am

THE latest update of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography was published on Thursday 10 March 2022 and added biographies of 243 men and women who left their mark on the UK, and who died in the year 2018.

·         Shanghai-born electrical engineer and physicist Sir Charles Kao won the Nobel prize in physics in 2009 for his work on fibre optics, initiated in the laboratories of Standard Telephones and Cables in Harlow in the 1960s, which revolutionised the telecommunications industry and made possible cable television and fibre-optic broadband.

·         Beth Chatto, born in in Good Easter, near Chelmsford, was widely acclaimed as one of the leading plantswomen and garden designers of her generation, drawing on her knowledge of plants from around the world to underpin her mantra of ‘the right plant in the right place’: her garden at Elmstead Market included gravel and scree gardens.

·         Sir Wilson Harris, the Guyanese-born poet, novelist, and essayist, who lived for more than thirty years in Chelmsford, was sometimes tipped for a Nobel prize. Readers tended to find his experimental and dream-like novels, many born from his experiences as a surveyor in the Guyanese rainforest interior, either exhilarating or unduly challenging.

  • Evelyn Anthony, the prolific author of historical fiction and of espionage thrillers (including The Tamarind Seed in 1971, made into a film starring Julie Andrews), lived for many years at Horham Hall, Thaxted, which she and her husband restored.In 1994 she was the first woman to be appointed high sheriff of Essex.
  • Born in Colchester, the son of a solicitor’s clerk, Sir Anthony Gill became chairman and chief executive of Lucas Industries, manufacturer of motor components and other electrical products, and one of Britain’s biggest manufacturers. Against the background of a declining British car industry, he successfully built up the company’s aerospace operations, only to fall foul of impatient investors in the global recession of the 1990s. He subsequently chaired the Docklands Light Railway.

·         Born in Westcliff-on-Sea, the journalist Derek Ingram joined the Daily Express after war service in the navy but soon switched to the Daily Mail, then a relatively left-wing paper. He left to found Gemini News Service, a ground-breaking information service focusing on developing Commonwealth countries. He was widely acknowledged as the doyen of Commonwealth journalists, attending virtually every prime ministers’ meeting and becoming the go-to person for comment and analysis on Commonwealth developments, knowing many leaders personally.

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