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Sir Frederic Calland Williams, CBE FRS[2][3] (26 June 1911 in Stockport – 11 August 1977 in Manchester),[2][4] known as 'F.C. Williams' or (less often[citation needed]) 'Freddie Williams',[5] was an English engineer.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

F.C. Williams
Born Frederic Calland Williams
(1911-06-26)26 June 1911
Died 11 August 1977(1977-08-11) (aged 66)
Nationality English
Citizenship British
Education Stockport Grammar School
Alma mater
Known for
Scientific career
Thesis Problems of spontaneous oscillation in electrical circuits (1936)
Doctoral students Tom Kilburn[1]



Williams was educated at Stockport Grammar School and the Victoria University of Manchester where he was awarded Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees. He was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1936[12] where he was a postgraduate student of Magdalen College, Oxford.[13]

Research and careerEdit

Working at the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE), he was a substantial contributor during World War II to the development of radar.[14]

In 1946 he was appointed as head of the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Manchester. There, with Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill, he pioneered the first stored-program digital computer, the Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine, more popularly known as the “Baby”).[14]

Williams is also recognised for his invention of the Williams-Kilburn tube, an early memory device.[14]

Awards and honoursEdit

Williams was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1950. His nomination reads


  1. ^ Kilburn, Tom (1948). A storage system for use with binary digital computing machines. (PhD thesis). University of Manchester. EThOS 
  2. ^ a b Kilburn, T.; Piggott, L. S. (1978). "Frederic Calland Williams. 26 June 1911-11 August 1977". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 24: 583. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1978.0020. 
  3. ^ a b "EC/1950/25 Williams, Sir Frederic Calland: Library and Archive Catalogue". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 30 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Corrigenda: Frederic Calland Williams. 26 June 1911-11 August 1977". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 25: 0–1. 1979. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1979.0001. 
  5. ^ "Frederic Calland Williams (1911 - 1977)". Archived from the original on 7 January 2010. 
  6. ^ Williams, Frederic; Kilburn, Tom (1948). "Electronic Digital Computers". Nature. 162 (4117): 487. doi:10.1038/162487a0. Archived from the original on 6 April 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ Anderson David, Delve Janet (2007) Frederic Calland Williams: the Manchester Baby's chief engineer IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 29 (4): 90-102
  8. ^ Williams, F.C.; Kilburn, T. (1949). "A storage system for use with binary-digital computing machines". Proceedings of the IEE - Part II: Power Engineering. doi:10.1049/pi-2.1949.0078. 
  9. ^ Anderson, D. P. (2009). "Interview An interview with Maurice Wilkes". Communications of the ACM. 52 (9): 39. doi:10.1145/1562164.1562180. 
  10. ^ Shelburne, B. J.; Burton, C. P. (1998). "Early programs on the Manchester Mark I Prototype". IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. 20 (3): 4. doi:10.1109/85.707570. 
  11. ^ Burton, C. (1998). "The Manchester baby reborn". IEE Review. 44 (3): 113. doi:10.1049/ir:19980302. 
  12. ^ Williams, Frederic Calland (1936). Problems of spontaneous oscillation in electrical circuits. (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. EThOS 
  13. ^ WILLIAMS, Prof. Sir Frederic (Calland). Who Was Who. 2017 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.    (subscription required)
  14. ^ a b c Napper, Brian (October 2000). "Frederic Calland Williams (1911 - 1977)". University of Manchester. Retrieved 11 December 2015.