Dummer was educated at the Manchester College of Technology. In 1931
he started work with the Mullard Radio Valve Company. In 1935 he moved
to A C Cossor Ltd working on Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs), time bases and circuits, and
in 1938 moved again, this time to Salford Electrical Instruments.
In September 1939 he joined the radar research in the Air Ministry Research Establishment
(AMRE), then at Dundee, where he worked in a team under Bob Dippy on Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)
displays. It was here that he (with Franklin) started work on radial
time base displays, which were the genesis of the first Plan Position
Indicator (PPI). This is the classic map like radar display with a line
sweeping around its centre. In mid 1940, the first Plan Position
Indicator was demonstrated to Air Marshal Joubert at Worth Matravers on C-site
using a specially modified Chain Home Low radar.
It was not practical to train radar operators on operational equipment, so
training equipment was needed to simulate the real radars. Dummer became
responsible for the design, manufacture and installation and servicing of many
equipments for training radar operators. He also visited the United
States and Canada to advise on setting up similar trainers there.
He was later in charge of a group dealing with the development of
components for electronic circuits. The drive for reliability made it
desirable to reduce the number of unreliable electrical connections between
components - especially for operation in adverse climatic conditions.
This led him to conceive the idea of multiple components on a single
semiconductor chip. In May 1952 he presented this idea at the US
Electronic Components Symposium. This was six years before Jack Kilby of
Texas Instruments was awarded a patent for essentially the same idea. As a result he has been called "The Prophet of the Integrated Circuit".
Dummer was unable to persuade either the government or industry in the United
Kingdom to fund development of these ideas.
Geoffrey William Arnold Dummer MBE
25 February 1909 - 9 September 2002
Bill Penley Jan 2011