The University of Southampton

ECS celebrates the first Zepler Day

Published: 23 January 2009

Professor Eric Zepler, the distinguished engineer who founded the University of Southampton's Department of Electronics, Telecommunications and Radio Engineering in 1947, was also the UK's first Professor of Electronics.

To honour Zepler's achievements, and to celebrate the history of the School, ECS held the first event today in what will now become an annual series, taking place on Zepler's birthday 27 January. Before taking up his academic post Zepler was already known as one of the world's leading radio designers. His pioneering work on radio systems before the Second World War led to equipment that was used by the armed services of both Britain and Germany during the war. Less well known is Zepler's passion for composing chess problems, which led him to receive the title of International Master of Chess Composition.

On our first Zepler Day on Tuesday 27 January we exhibited two of Zepler's early radios - one built for Telefunken in Germany and the other for Marconi, designed after he came to Britain in 1935 to escape Nazi persecution. Both of these radios are in working order. Professor Greville Bloodworth, who worked with Zepler here in Southampton from 1959, was guest of honour at the event, which also included other retired members of staff who had worked with Zepler, and staff and students of the School. Professor Bloodworth has written: 'Eric Zepler was not only a great pioneering radio designer. In England he became a great teacher. After the experience of being his students or his colleagues, many of us have dealt with engineering design problems by saying to ourselves, consciously or subconsciously, "That can be calculated."'

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