|Administrative history||Rankine, Alexander Oliver (1881-1956)|
Rankine was born at Guilford, and educated at Royal Grammar School, Guilford, where he later received a scholarship to attend University College London. He graduated in 1904 with first class honours in physics and by 1910 he had become D.Sc. He spent 1917-1918 in war service, but otherwise worked as an assistant in the Department of Physics under William Henry Bragg until 1919. It was here where he worked with Bragg to develop a system that was capable of transmitting sound through light. He also worked in an experimental station which saw incorporating science into the military service. In 1919 he was appointed as Professor of Physics at Imperial College, which he held until 1925 when he was appointed Director of the Optics Department. In 1937 he joined the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company as chief physicist. During the Second World War, from 1942-1945, he worked with the Petroleum Warfare Department and also worked for the Ministry of Aircraft Production. He was a founding fellow of the Institute of Physics and President of the Optical Society. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1934. Rankine is well known for working on the viscocity of gases. In 1907 he married Ruby Irene short of Reading, and they had two sons and two daughters.