Dr Howlett: Celebration

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Welcome: Bert Westwood

I am Bert Westwood, Chairman and Chief Executive of CCLRC.

I did not have the privilege of knowing Jack Howlett, but it is certainly a pleasure and an honour to be asked to welcome all of you to this celebration of his life and work

In a sense, you are standing in a house that, to some significant degree, Jack built - or at least an organisation that owes a significant part of itself and its modus operandi to the imagination, initiative and energy of Jack Howlett.

Bert Westwood: CCLRC

Bert Westwood: CCLRC

So, it is a pleasure to welcome to this celebration, Mrs Joan Howlett, Graham Howlett and other members of the family, many of Jack's colleagues and friends, and members of the Laboratory's current staff.

You will hear from others the details of Jack's many contributions and accomplishments but pivotal to today's CCLRC was the concern that Jack and a few colleagues had back in 1957-58 that Britain was falling behind the USA in the design and manufacture of computers.

This led to the proposal, in about 1960, that a state-of-the-art computer be ordered by AEA from Ferranti; the design to be based on work at Manchester University, and that this should be used to provide computing support for Harwell, Risley, Culham - and of special historical interest - to UK universities. Nowadays, the principal raison d'etre of CCLRC.

In 1961, Jack was appointed Director of the then yet to be created Atlas Computer Laboratory. The computer arrived in 1964. The rest, as they say, is history - much of which will be revealed by Jack's co-workers and friends this evening.

So we are here tonight to celebrate the life and work of a man with a vision - who established a legacy that lives, grows and does useful things at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory even today - a man who recognised a national need, did something about it - and in so doing made a difference.

And, I am lead to believe, had fun doing it.

So, to start the proceedings, here is his son, Graham Howlett, to tell us more about Jack the man, and the family Howlett.

Chilton Directors:

Jack Howlett (Atlas) Gerry Pickavance (Rutherford)
Jack Howlett (Atlas) Godfrey Stafford (Rutherford)
Godfrey Stafford (RAL)
Geoff Manning (RAL)
Paul Williams (RAL)
Bert Westwood (CCLRC)