C.A.J. Young joined I.C.I. in 1940 and worked on various engineering projects during the war, including FIDO (for dispersing fog from airfields) and the Tube Alloys (Atomic Bomb) Project. Some reminiscences about this period are the be found in CSAC 70.8.79.C.13, CSAC 70.8.79.C.14. In 1946 the I.C.I. Technical Director, F.E. Smith (later Sir Ewart Smith) invited Young to set up a central instrument laboratory. Young later wrote of this invitation 'I was very fortunate in 1946, in two respects. First, my experience had shown me the importance to industry of exploiting the full potential of instrumentation and automatic control, and l believed l knew how his could be achieved. Secondly, Sir Ewart Smith had also appreciated the need for long-term research and development and invited me to be responsible for fulfilling in for I.C.I.' (see CSAC 70.8.79.A.2)
The laboratory was originally set up as 'A general instrument research and development section ... to act as a service to all Divisions ... keep in touch with instrument practice at home and abroad, and hold certain specialised equipment for general use in I.C.I.' (see CSAC 70.8.79.B.3). In the early 1950s, however, Young decided to concentrate the work of the laboratory on the design of process control systems. His objective was that process, plant and control equipment should be designed as one unified system to eradicate the practice of adding the control equipment as an afterthought to a plant already designed. In order to achieve this he directed the laboratory towards the target of predicting the dynamic behaviour of chemical processes of the design stage, and introduced the concept of the 'mathematical model' to describe any system under consideration.
By 1956 electronic computers capable of solving the complex equations generated by this line of research were a practical reality, and Young was quick to see their advantage. He persuaded I.C.I. to purchase a Ferranti Mercury in 1958, and his subsequent efforts to ensure that the Company took advantage of the most recent developments in the computing industry are well documented in the collection (see CSAC 70.8.79.B.78 - CSAC 70.8.79.B.115). He also encouraged research into a new high level language specially designed for on-line computer applications, and a novel system of interface instrumentation, both of which were designed to reduce costs and thus improve the practical possibilities of implementing a complete on-line system (see CSAC 70.8.79.B.95 - CSAC 70.8.79.B.102).
Recognition of Young's achievements in the field of process control came in 1969 with the award of the honorary degree of Doctor of Technology by Bradford University (see CSAC 70.8.79.A.18) and the presentation of the first Sir Harold Hartley Medal by the Institute of Measurement and Control (formerly the Society of Instrumental Technology, of which Young was President, 1954 - 57). Fellowship of the Royal Society followed in 1972.
At the end of 1968 Young had to undergo a severe operation from which he never fully recovered. He continued to involve himself in the work of the laboratory when he was able, but in 1971 his health forced him to relinquish the Directorship and he accepted the advisory post of Technical Director to the I.C.I. Corporate Laboratory which was formed by merging the Central Instrument Research Laboratory at Bozedown with the I.C.I. Petrochemical and Polymer Laboratory at Runcorn in 1972. He retired from I.C.I. in 1973.
A word should be said here about Young's Christian names. He was born Alwyne Jack, and many of his friends and colleagues called him 'A.J.', but his wife knew him as Christopher, the name by which he had first introduced himself to her, and in 1969 he changed his name by deed poll to Christopher Alwyne Jack Young.
SUMMARY OF CAREER
CSAC 70.8.79.b.1912 Calne, Wiltshire
educ. Colston's School, Bristol
1930 - 34 St. Edmund Hall, Oxford (B.A., B.Sc.)
1934 Science master, Radley College (Easter Term only)
1934 - 38 Science master, Cheltenham College
1938 - 40 Assistant Meteorologist, Sudan Government Service
1940 - 46 I.C.I. Ltd., Billingham Division
1946 Married Wendy Henniker-Heaton
1946 - 71 Director, I.C.I. Central Instrument Section (later Central Instrument Research Laboratory)
1954 - 57 President, Society of Instrument Technology
1969 Hon. D. Tech., University of Bradford
First Sir Harold Hartley Medal
1971 - 73 Technical Director, I.C.I. Corporate Laboratory
1972 Fellow of the Royal Society