Sir Christopher Cockerell was born in Cambridge, where his father, Sir Sydney Cockerell, was curator of the Fitzwilliam Museum, having previously been the secretary of William Morris.
He entered Cambridge University as an undergraduate member of Peterhouse, where he studied engineering and was tutored by William Dobson Womersley. He was later to return to Cambridge to study Radio and Electronics.
Cockerell was awarded the Howard N. Potts Medal in 1965 and was made a CBE in 1966. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1967 and knighted in 1969 for his services to engineering. He died at Hythe, Hampshire.