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About Zepler

The Zepler Building, home of the Department of Electronics and Computer Science, is named after Professor EE Zepler who founded the Department in 1947. We have a fine academic portrait of him in the foyer and this is what its says beneath:

Professor E E Zepler (1898-1980)

Emeritus Professor Eric Ernest Zepler made an outstanding and pioneering contribution to radio receiver development as well as to the teaching of electronics.

After studying Physics at the University of Berlin and Bonn he took a DPhil at the University of Wurzburg. He then continued his research at the Physical Institute, Wurzburg until joining the staff of Telefunken, Berlin, in 1925. He became head of the radio receiver laboratories but in 1935 he was forced to flee the country with his family and came to England as a refugee. He obtained a post with the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company. The results of his work were described authoritatively and with enviable clarity in his first book "The Technique of Radio Design" first published in 1943 and running to three printings. This book was a classic and remained the standard reference for nearly twenty years - a remarkable feat in a subject which was developing so very rapidly.

Zepler's name is associated with many famous radio receivers and transmitters, for example the 1155 and 1154 used by Bomber Command during the war. In fact equipment of his design was used by both the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe.

From 1941 to 1943 Eric Zepler was a lecturer in the (then) University College, Southampton, before moving to the Cavendish laboratory at the University of Cambridge. Three years later he returned to Southampton and in 1947 he founded the Department of Electronics. In 1949 a Chair of Electronics was created for him.

This chair and the new Department were the first in Electronics in this country, and probably in the world. The Southampton Postgraduate Diploma in Electronics became renowned as the outstanding qualification for professional electronics engineers in the United Kingdom.

Eric Zepler took a leading role in establishing electronics as a separate and "respectable" discipline from traditional electrical engineering. To this end he was an enthusiastic member of the Institution of Electronic and Radio Engineers helping to formulate the Institutions educational policies, and became its president in 1959-60.

On his first retirement in 1963 he began a completely new career in the University's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research. He concentrated on problems of hearing and made many fundamental contributions to our understanding of the way in which the ear responds to impulsive sounds.

Chess was one of his principal enthusiasms. He published books on chess and played for the Essex and Hampshire County teams. He was granted the title of International Master of Chess Composition.

An honorary degree of Doctor of Science was conferred on him in 1977.