Ayrton an interesting note

I am very grateful to Yasu. Shinohara, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Education, Sports, Science and Technology, Tokyo, Japan for sending this fascinating piece. We have worked together on issues associated with technical education in Japan and Britain. See biographies for more about Ayrton and his amazing achievements.


Fact File Ayrton 1


‘Memories of Mr Ayrton’


Mr Ayrton was a hard worker. He went to the laboratory even in Sundays to study. He

designed his own desk. There are many research publications he wrote with Mr John

Perry. That is why then it was said as if the centre of electronic engineering moved from

Britain to Japan. Mr Ayrton often got off the track during his lectures. Students did not

understand right away what important things he would tell, then we realised the

significance of his episodes later many times. Mr Ayrton always said to us, ‘Please don’t

copy someone else. You should not replicate something existed already. You must try to

make the thing better and discover something better.’ Mr Ayrton had been studying

until the very end of his Japan days. At that time he was studying about the ratio of

electrostatic unit to electromagnetic unit. On his way home, Mr Ayrton never stopped

the calculation and he got the result at Hong Kong, then he kindly sent it to Japan by

telegram. The followings are the questions Mr Ayrton gave us at a physics lesson.

  1. Can you add a line to a line?
  2. Can you subtract a line from a line?
  3. Can you multiply a line with a line?
  4. Can you divide a line by a line?



Editing society of the history of ICE, History of Imperial College of Engineering

[Kyu-koubu-daigakko-shiryo] (1931) pp.163-164. ‘Memories of Mr Ayrton’ extracted

from ‘The old days of the Imperial College of Engineering’


NAKAMURA Hachiro, The beginning and development of electric industry in Japan

[Denkijigyo-no-ransho-to-tenkaikatei] (United Nation University, 1982) p.7

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