Darnell was brought up and received his early education
in Lowestoft, Suffolk and gained his early engineering
qualifications through the 'sandwich course' route with
the Marconi Company in Chelmsford, graduating with first-class
honours, BTech, from Loughborough in 1963. Moving to Cambridge,
he gained his PhD in 1968.
first half of his career was served at the Ministry of
Defence, initially at the Admiralty Research Establishment
where by 1975 he was Head of the Section undertaking communications
research for the Royal Navy. A period on secondment to
NATO followed and by 1980 he was back at the MoD in London
as Assistant Director of Strategic Communications responsible
for the UK's interaction with NATO in communications electronics,
as well as representing the UK on a number of international
Darnell's move into the academic world was made in 1980
when he was appointed to a Lectureship in the newly formed
Department of Electronics at the University of York, where
he was responsible for initiating a research activity
in communications as well as developing related areas
of the undergraduate curriculum. He was promoted to senior
lecturer there in 1982. He was appointed Professor of
Communication Engineering at the University of Hull in
1986 and joined the University of Leeds as Professor of
Electronic Engineering in 1995.
research activity on radio communication system design,
signal processing and spectrum utilisation has been key
to the development of greater capacity and reliability
of both military and commercial communications. He led
the Communications and Signal-Processing Group in the
Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, which
grew to over forty people. He was the founding Director
of the Institute of Integrated Information Systems, one
of the constituent parts of the School of Electronic and
Electrical Engineering after the restructuring in 1997.
His research productivity may be gauged by the record
of over £2M in research grants secured since coming to
Leeds and more than 350 publications in books, journals
and conference papers.
who know Mike Darnell well, however, regard his interaction
with people as his most important contribution to the
School. His concern for the personal and career development
of junior colleagues and his sympathetic understanding
of students made him an outstanding and successful research
supervisor and teacher.
is retiring from his full-time post to devote more time
to his industrial activity through HW Communications Limited,
a company he formed with an academic colleague in 1990.
He will continue to work part-time at Leeds both on the
teaching and research scenes.
his long-standing interest in walking, it may not be entirely
coincidental that the biannual International Symposium
on Communication Theory and Applications, which Mike organises,
is regularly held at Ambleside in the Lake District. Mike's
other leisure activities are watercolour painting and
golf; these, as well as involvement in the community life
of the village in which he has made his home, will ensure
that he will have a very active retirement. We wish him
and his wife Judy every health and happiness in the future.