Henry Booker

Henry Booker
Barking, Essex, England
Associated organizations
Royal Air Force
Fields of study
Radio, Radar


Henry G. Booker (IRE Senior Member, 1945 and Fellow, 1953) was born in Barking, Essex, England, on 14 December 1910. He became a naturalized American in 1952. He received the B.A. degree, in 1933, specializing in pure and applied mathematics, and the Ph.D. degree, in 1936, specializing in ionospheric physics, both from Cambridge University, England.

In 1935, Booker became a faculty member of Christ's College, Cambridge, England, in which capacity he conducted research in radio wave propagation and taught applied mathematics and theoretical physics. From 1937 to 1938, he was a Visiting Scientist at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institute, Washington, D.C. At this time, he evolved the theory of propagation of radio waves through a stratified doubly-refracting ionosphere, demonstrating the twisted unsymmetrical paths followed by wave packets.

During World War II, Booker was in charge of theoretical research at the Radar Research Establishment of the Royal Air Force, Malvern, England. Here he was involved in the development of new ideas in antennas and propagation. He held patents on the resonant slot and cosecant antennas, and conducted radio meteorological investigations.

After World War II, he returned to Cambridge, where he lectured in applied mathematics and conducted ionospheric research. In 1948, he became a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, about one decade later (1959) he became Director of Cornell's Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, and in 1962, he held the post, Director of the School of Electrical Engineering. At Cornell he was also a member of the faculties of physics and engineering physics.

Booker received the Smith Prize, three Premiums of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE), in London, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, in 1954, to conduct research on the theory of radio reflections from aurorae and to visit various European scientific institutions. He was the Chairman of two International Commissions of the International Scientific Radio Union. He was a Fellow of the IRE and the Royal Meteorological Society as well as a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Astronomical Society, the American Meteorological Society, the AIEE, and the American Association of Physics Teachers. In 1960, Booker was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.