Kompfner, Rudolf, 1909-1977

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1909-05-16
Death 1977-12-03

Biographical notes:

Physicist (integrated optics, communications satellites, optical communications) and inventor of the traveling wave tube. Research physicist at Birmingham University (1941-1944), Oxford University's Clarendon Laboratory (1944-1951), Bell Laboratories (1952-1973) and on the faculties of both Stanford and Oxford University (1973-1977).

From the description of Papers. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80451929

Professor of Applied Physics at Stanford, 1973-1977, Rudolf Kompfner was born in Vienna in 1909. He emigrated to England in 1934 and began a self-guided study of the field of physics. He received his Ph.D. from Oxford. His invention of the traveling wave tube is credited with making future satellite communications practicable.

From the description of Rudolf Kompfner papers, 1937-1981. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122500425

Biographical/Historical Sketch

Professor of Applied Physics at Stanford University and world renowned communications scientist, Rudolf Kompfner came to Stanford in 1973 after a distinguished career at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Oxford University, and with British government research.

Professor Kompfner was born in Vienna in 1909 and received the degree of engineer from the Technische Hochschule in 1933. He emigrated to England in 1934 where he worked as an architect. Kompfner already had a strong interest in experimental physics, however, and began a self-guided study of the field. He was already an accomplished research physicist when he received his Ph. D. from Oxford University, having worked at Birmingham University (1941-44) and Oxford's Clarendon Laboratory (1944-51). His invention of the traveling wave tube during this time is credited with making future satellite communications practicable. In 1950, he developed the backward wave oscillator which made microwave oscillators electronically tunable.

Ultimately the holder of over 50 patents, Kompfner continued his research at the Bell Laboratories from 1952 to 1973. His last years, 1973 to 1977, were spent in research and teaching at both Stanford University and Oxford University, focusing prlmarily on integrated optics.

Professor Kompfner received numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science in 1975 for his invention of the traveling wave tube and for major contributions to communications satellites and optical communications. He was a member of the National Academy of Science and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

From the guide to the Rudolf Kompfner papers, 1937-1981, (Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives)

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Subjects:

  • Traveling-wave tubes
  • Physics--Research
  • Backward-wave tubes
  • Science--History

Occupations:

  • Physicists

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