William Albert Coates (1919-1993)

Lecture and Laboratory Assistant, 1948-1986

  • William Albert Coates

    Photograph of Bill Coates taken at his farewell discourse

    Credit: Royal Institution


Always known as Bill, he was born in Shoreditch in London, where he attended the grammar school there. He became an apprentice at the Exchange Telegraph Company in 1934. He was called up by the army in 1939 and saw action in Norway. Later as an officer in the Parachute Regiment he saw action in Normandy and Germany. After demobilisation he held a couple of technician positions before his appointment to the Royal Institution. Originally he worked in the Davy-Faraday Laboratory, but in 1957 moved, as Senior Experimental Officer, to be lecture assistant. He was awarded the Bragg Medal of the Institute of Physics in 1975, and was made an MBE in 1980. After his retirement he remained as part time consultant at both the Royal Institution and at Imperial College London.