Ralph Galbraith Hopkinson, designer and engineer: born 13 August 1913; Research Engineer, GEC 1934-47; Principal Scientific Officer, DSIR Building Research Station 1947-64; Haden-Pilkington Professor of Environmental Design and Engineering, University College London 1965-76 (Emeritus); President, Illuminating Engineering Society of Great Britain 1965-66; Honorary Fellow, Royal Institute of British Architects 1969; Dean, Faculty of Environmental Studies, UCL London 1972-74; married 1938 Beryl Churchill (died 1993; two sons, and one son deceased); died St Albans 11 June 1994.
DURING THE 1950s and 1960s Ralph Hopkinson made an important contribution to the advancement of lighting design through his research at the Building Research Station at Garston, Watford. His studies ranged from investigations into visual discomfort, brightness and its effect on the visual environment to day- lighting as a fundamental part of architecture. These studies not only advanced the subject of lighting but had a substantial influence on building design, particularly in schools and hospitals.
Before going to the BRS in 1947 Hopkinson had worked at the Research Laboratories of the General Electric Company on lighting and radar from 1934 to 1947. He studied electrical engineering at Faraday House and was awarded a doctorate at London University. For his doctoral thesis he investigated, using a newly developed photographic technique, the luminance distributions of road-lighting installations.
While at the Building Research Station, Hopkinson developed a close affinity for architecture, and when Richard (later Lord) Llewelyn-Davies became Head of the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London it was natural for Hopkinson to be invited, in 1965, to fill the newly established chair of Environmental Design and Engineering which was jointly funded by G. …