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News by Author – Alan Coombs CEng FIMMM and Hugh Stanbury PhD BSc ARCS - Materials World

Professor Philip Beckley

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear friend and colleague, Philip Beckley, on 10 June 2016.  Philip worked in the electrical steels industry for almost 40 years and his contribution to the technology earned him
international renown.

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Philip was born on 25 May 1936 in Parkend, UK. He attended Monmouth School before joining the RAF, where he developed an interest in radio and radar. In 1957, he went to the University of Southampton, UK, where he obtained an honours degree in General Science and met his wife-to-be, Mary.

Following graduation in 1960, he joined the Steel Company of Wales at Orb Works, Newport, as a trainee metallurgist. He was soon appointed Senior Physicist and then Principal Research Officer. In 1983, Philip became Manager Technical and Research at the plant. He continued to hold this post after the formation of European Electrical Steel. In 1995, he was awarded the Stokowiec Medal for his work on high alloy silicon steels. After retiring in 1996, Philip continued to work as a consultant until 2007.

In 1969, he was awarded a PhD by Cardiff University, UK, for his thesis, Some aspects of the relationship between loss, domain wall motion and ageing in grain oriented silicon iron, and was later awarded a DSc by the University of Southampton. In 1972, he was appointed a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. Five years later, he was appointed a Fellow of the Institute of Metals and of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. On his retirement he was made an honorary life member of the UK Magnetics Society.

Philip was a Visiting Professor at Cardiff University. He was a member of industrial
advisory committees and stimulated student interest in industrial magnetic materials
through a range of lectures and demonstrations. He maintained a close relationship
with staff and students at the Wolfson Centre for Magnetics, providing professional
advice to staff and mentoring postgraduate students.  Philip was passionate about developing young students into materials scientists and engineers. He was heavily involved in the Teaching Company Scheme, which enabled new graduates to progress to a doctorate from Cardiff University by undertaking an industrial research project based at Orb Works.

He was also a natural entertainer – who could forget his lecture to the UK
Magnetics Society where he wore steel-plated-boots and used an electromagnet to
suspend himself upside down to demonstrate the strength of the magnetic field and
the concept of magnetic permeability? School children at the talk were mesmerised. He was also a source of encouragement to the children that came to Orb Works for work experience and was delighted to see some return as graduate trainees.
Philip gained a reputation as an internationally renowned technical expert. Regularly
presenting papers at national and international conferences, he also represented the
industry on the British Standards Committees and the International Electrotechnical
Commission Committees on Magnetic Alloys and Steels.

Philip led a full life outside of work. He was a family man, had an antique wireless
collection and authored two technical books. He was also an active committee member of the Newport and District Materials Society and served as President from 2000–2002.  Philip showed great enthusiasm for whatever he did. He was well liked and his technical expertise earned him the respect of his peers. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and the world of magnetics and electrical steels.
He leaves his wife Mary, children Kate and Peter and grandsons, Tom and Danny.