Dai Edwards: lectures with FC Williams

Dai Edwards recalls electronics lectures from FC Williams at Manchester in the 1940s.

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It was in my third year of a physics degree. You could opt to specialise in a particular area and I’d opted to specialise in electronics, which physics didn’t regard too highly because it was outside their jurisdiction. But it happened to be the first year’s lectures that FC Williams had given when he arrived at the university from a place, TRE, where he’d dealt things on a wartime footing. So obviously things had to be communicated at great speed and done with maximum efficiency, and he did his lectures in this way. So that a board full of material was written up half an hour before the lecture started, it was prepared in that time. And then when the lecture started FC, as I called him, used to go through the lecture on what was on the board. But worse than that, from a student point of view, he then used to rub out odd components and change a section of the wave forms in each case to note what the effect that was. So this meant that as a student you had to be prepared to note the changes that were made and update them later. Now I, particularly, found the lectures inspiring. First of all, because he was covering detailed design of really useful material, and secondly, he not only was drawing it on the board, he was demonstrating it visually with an apparatus that he’d built to do it. So he’d actually go through the actual design of the circuit and then show you how it operated in practice, and I found that very interesting as well. And occasionally, of course, he used to get an electric shock, because as he was showing you the different wave forms, he would inadvertently put his finger on one of the signals that he was looking at.

  • Interviewee David 'Dai' Edwards
  • Duration 00:02:01
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Thomas Lean
  • Date of interview 2/26/2010
  • Shelfmark C1379/11

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