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JOHN HILL

1921–2008

Elected in 1976

“For leadership in all phases of the British nuclear energy program and the promotion of international cooperation in nuclear energy undertakings.”

BY CON ALLDAY
SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY

SIR JOHN MCGREGOR HILL died on January 14, 2008, at the age of 86, after two successful careers as both a physicist and a businessman. The first was in the Royal Air Force working on the perfection of radar. He left the RAF in 1946 as a flight lieutenant. His second and major career was in atomic energy, where he made a major contribution to the development of nuclear power as a commercial source of electricity in the United Kingdom. He became chairman of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) at the age of 46 and of its industrial offshoots British Nuclear Fuels plc and Amersham International Ltd., a radio isotope pharmaceutical company, a few years later.

Sir John was born in Chester, England, on February 21, 1921; was educated in Richmond, Surrey; and was awarded a first-class degree in physics at Kings College, London University, and later a Ph.D. at the Cavendish Laboratory, in Cambridge.

After five years in the RAF working on the development of radar and a short spell as a lecturer in physics at London University, Sir John joined the Department of Atomic Energy in the Ministry of Supply and was posted to Windscale, Cumbria, England, where he was involved in the construction and operation of two air-cooled reactors (piles) for the production of plutonium. He enjoyed telling the tale that, when he went



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