Alan Blumlein, courtesy EMIIn 1923 Alan Blumlein was awarded a BSc (first class honours) in electrical technology from City and Guilds College (part of Imperial College).  In 1924 he started work on telecommunications for International Western Electric which later became Standard Telephones and Cables.

In 1929 he moved to work for the Columbia Gramophone Company (which later merged to become EMI).  It was while he was working here that he came up with the idea of what he called 'binaural sound' - the beginning of what we now call stereo.  His name is preserved in the term 'Blumlein pair' which is used to describe a configuration of two microphones to record stereo sound (two microphones in one place pointing at right angles to each other).  Later in the 1930s Blumlein played a pioneering role in the development of the BBC's television transmission service based at Alexandra Palace.

Although EMI was not made aware of the radar development programme as war approached, Alan Blumlein did propose use of binaural sound to improve on the detection of aircraft by sound.  Soon after the start of the war, EMI and Alan Blumlein did become involved in the development of Airborne Radar.  Alan was still with EMI when he started work on H2S airborne radar with other colleagues from EMI and Bernard Lovell amongst others.  In June 1942 he died tragically when a Halifax bomber crashed at near Goodrich while testing the prototype of the H2S radar.  For more information - see the links below.

Alan Dower Blumlein
29 June 1903 - 7 June 1942

If you have additional information or materials - please contact the Radar Trust
Papers & Links etc.
Alan Blumlein on Dora Media Productions 
   About his biography: www.doramusic.com/index_blumlein.htm 
   Outline biography:  www.doramusic.com/Who Was Blumlein.htm 
   Radar story:  www.doramusic.com/Radar.htm  
   Halifax crash:  www.doramusic.com/crashsite.htm  
Wikipedia page:  biography Alan Blumlein  accessed Feb 2011
or try:  http://en.wikipedia.org/  with search words: Alan Blumlein 
Group - worked in Malvern not in Purbeck.

copyright Purbeck Radar Museum Trust 2013  |  www.purbeckradar.org.uk  |  version 8f - 9 May 2015

Page last updated: 08 May 2011