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Eric Roberts Laithwaite was born in Atherton, Lancashire, the son of a farmer, and was educated at Kirkham Grammar School, the Regent Street Polytechnic and. For this second blog we’re going to look at an inventor, innovator and communicator of science on TV and in the classroom. Eric Laithwaite ( ) came to. Professor Eric Laithwaite, who died on 27 November , was a talented engineering maverick who spent much of his academic life investigating unusual .

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His memory for anecdotes was formidable and he delighted in their telling. They were looking for a new way of getting spacecraft into earth orbit, thought of linear motors, and headed straight for the world expert. He wanted to chat about ideas for talking backwards. Laithwaite was also a lzithwaite entomologist and the co-author of The Dictionary of Butterflies and Moths ; he had one of the finest British collections of specimens. Will the experiment succeed?

But he never lost his fascination for gyroscopes. The track uses both levitation coils and linear induction motors and it can be seen in the “Magnets” episode of Modern Marvels on the History Channel.

It was, however, not simply a repeat of the one in ! In he applied for a patent on a gyroscopic space-drive; typically, he had built the demonstration model out of his childhood Meccano set. As a result proceedings of the lecture were never published. September Learn how and when to remove this template message.


All the humming is coming from the huge electromagnetic field coming from the coils. As Britain’s first media engineer, he attracted the interest of a small army of amateur inventors. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Fascinating post Colin, thanks. March 7th, at 2: Newton’s laws can be applied to angular motion in 3-D and an important relationship obtained This formula governs gyroscopic motion and is one of the tools used to explain what is happening in Laithwaite’s videos.

A United States Patent, Numberwas granted in January 8th, at 3: April 10th, at 6: After seeing a demonstration of Jones’s small prototype a small wagon lathwaite a swinging pendulum which advanced intermittently along a table topLaitjwaite became convinced that “he had seen something impossible”. He also tried this is the last lecture in with the gyros. In Septemberhowever, two Nasa scientists arrived at his Sussex University laboratory, and his life went full circle.

erc Journal of Insect Physiology. For Laithwaite it was a crossroads. In the s, he was involved in creating a device to extract energy from sea waves see patent GB Laithwaire Roberts Laithwaite 14 June — 27 November was a British electrical engineerknown as the “Father of Maglev” for his development of the linear induction motor and maglev rail system. Ever since Laithwaite had been known as “the father of the linear motor”; however, as he constantly pointed out, he did not invent it, he simply rediscovered it.

His subsequent doctoral work started his interest in linear induction motors.

Eric Laithwaite

I have both these books, and the final lecture in the lectures was not about gyroscopes. In his lecture before the Royal Institution he claimed that gyroscopes weigh less when spinning and, to demonstrate this, he showed that he could lift a spinning gyroscope mounted on the end of a rod easily with one hand but could not do so when the gyroscope was not spinning.

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August 28th, at 8: The quality is still amazingly good too. His specialist work was on Linear Induction Motors.

When I was involved with the RI Christmas lectures I was handed a live cable of one of the volt phases to hold it was of course a shielded cable, but the open end was live! Would it start to spin, and if so how fast and in which axis. As you may know, he moved his research work to Sussex University just prior to his death, so maybe look there? He returned to Manchester to teach from towhen he took up his chair at Imperial College, where he remained until he retired in February 27th, at I was one of eric laithwaites sceintific engineering children in the sixties and i have dedicated my life to the subjects he studied.

Hello, We are still showing electrical students the Circle of Magnetism Tape today.

IC Reporter, Obituary – Professor Eric Laithwaite

Although he mixed effortlessly with the high and mighty he was a friend of the Prince of Wales – “I taught him everything he knows about science”, he once remarkedhe never abandoned his Lancastrian roots and vowels.

April 7th, at This reic discussed in the BBC science series ‘Horizon – The device Jones brought was powered by a simple gyroscope and it moved forward on Laithwaite’s bench with ease. This article needs additional citations for verification.