Walter Spear was a multi-talented individual who decided to make a career in science in the UK. After his studies in London he joined the academic staff of the Physics Department in Leicester in 1953. In 1968 he was appointed to the Harris Chair of Physics at the University of Dundee in Scotland, where he stayed until retirement. Although his work was primarily driven by a desire to understand the basic physics of electrical conduction in solids, his discoveries had considerable impact on the electronics industry. For example, he will be well remembered for his research on amorphous semiconductors, which resulted in a variety of applications within the optoelectronics industry, including solar cells and the liquid crystal displays (LCDs) used in televisions, computer monitors and a wide range of hand-held devices. His work was characterized throughout by high experimental skill, felicitous choice of materials and full theoretical understanding. Walter won many international prizes during his career, including the Royal Society Rumford Medal in 1990.
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