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Biographies: Obituary -- Neil Wiseman Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129924D
Original Publication Date: 1996-Apr-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 4 page(s) / 24K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

IEEE Computer Society: OWNER


Biographies: Obituary -- Neil Wiseman

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Copyright ©; 1996 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Biographies: Obituary -- Neil Wiseman

Neil Wiseman, reader in Computer Graphics at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory died of cancer on Tuesday June 13, 1995, at his home in Cambridge, England, after a year's illness.

The following appreciation was delivered by Peter Robinson at Neil Wiseman's funeral on June 96, 1995:

I only had the privilege of knowing Neil Wiseman for the past 20 years, first as his student and later as a colleague; there are many here whose memories go back much further. We each have our own particular recollections of his academic inventiveness and enthusiasm, his teaching skills, his wisdom and gentle humanity, and especially his sense of humor.

Working with Neil was never dull. I would like to share a few cameos from his life with you now.

Neil showed an early technical aptitude and in 1950 he joined the Pye electronics company in Cambridge as an apprentice, which was to prove a regular path for engineers into the University's Mathematical Laboratory in the 1950s and 1960s. At the time, television was just becoming fashionable after the suspension of transmissions during the second World War. The technological challenge and the supply of wet surplus components proved irresistible to an enthusiast like Neil and he built his own television receiver. Indeed, it was a colour set, and the colour was green. This was because the only cathode-ray display tubes that were readily available were war surplus radar tubes. Thcse had the further disadvantage that they had a fairly long-persistence phosphor: one part of the screen had been illuminated it continued to glow for several seconds. This meant that any movement in the picture became seriously blurred. However, it worked.

"At home, this enterprise had a further challenge in the absence of mains electricity. which Neil duly solved by installing his own generator. This was not quite as stable as might be desired, so even static pictures became blurred as they drifted across the long- persistence tube. But it was television, and the neighbours in rural Suffolk overcame their natural suspicion of what looked dangerously like witchcraft to gather round and watch the live outside broadcasts of the Queen's Coronation.

"Spurred by this success, Neil enrolled in 1954 to study Engineering at Queen Mary College, London, and duly graduated in 1957. During this time he started working for the Mathematical Laboratory during vacations, notably on the construction of the high speed photo-electric paper tape reader. He also brought with him plans for the long-persistence television and in due course the design was copied and several were built in the laboratory.

"Neil's talent was easily recognized and it was arranged that he should go for two years to the University of Illinois to s...