Sir Derek Roberts CBE FREng FRS
Derek Roberts is best known as an early leader — as both a researcher and in the management of research facilities — in the advancement of silicon-based integrated circuit technology. This technology is now ubiquitous in electronic devices, ranging from computers to satellites to smart energy meters.
Derek’s professional life was largely concerned with industrial scientific research. In the early 1960s, he was responsible for developing complex integrated circuits for Plessey — an electronics, defence and telecommunications company. In 1979, he moved to head GEC’s research activities, revamping its semiconductor research and development programme and setting up its Long Range Research Laboratory. The latter enabled GEC to explore research opportunities extending beyond the company’s usual timescale. He later twice served as Provost of University College London.
Derek delivered the annual distinguished lecture of the Campaign for Science and Engineering in 1995, on foresight and hindsight in science. In 1996, he was elected President of the British Science Association. Derek was awarded a CBE in 1988 and was knighted in 1995 for services to engineering and to education.