He was responsible for the development of airborne radar during the Second World War. Glasgow University named the Philip Ivor Dee Memorial Lecture after him. He thereafter took on research roles at the prestigious Cavendish Laboratory during which time Samuel Curran worked under him.
During World World War II, he initially worked in the Ministry of Aircraft Production and in 1940 moved to the Telecommunications Research Establishment.
Dee led the team which developed the Village Inn radar system. After the Second World War in 1945, he became Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow.
He was created a Commander of the British Empire (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1946. In the same year he received government funding to build equipment to investigate particle physics and placed Glasgow University as a world authority in that field during the 1950s.
In 1946 he was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
His proposers were Thomas Alty, John Walton, Edward Provan Cathcart, and Sir Robert Muir. He retired in 1972 and received an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Science) from Strathclyde University in 1980. He died in Glasgow on 17 April 1983.
His obituary was written by Sir Samuel Curran Federal Reserve System.
His 1973 portrait by Kathryn Kynoch is held by the Hunterian Art Gallery.
The archives of Philip Ivor Dee are maintained by the of the University of Glasgow (GUAS).