Loomis Who?

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July 13, 2009 by David Gillaspie




If radar won the Pacific side of WWII, then MIT is the gym where it trained.

Say you’re a scientist in 1930’s Depression America.  You work with aging equipment because no one can afford new gear.  One morning you show up at the lab and everything is new, state of the art.  It doesn’t happen often. 

That’s what Alfred Lee Loomis did at MIT.

Like Thomas Jefferson deciding to turn his book collection into the Library of Congress, MIT got a world-changing lab from Loomis.  Both men shaped history in ways most never dream.  Jefferson became a national icon.  Loomis worked closer to the shadows that hide innovation.    

Look him up, you’ll like him.


Why this fascination with radar?  It’s the only element from the three big projects of the war to make it into your house for one, unless you keep a nuclear reactor in the crawl space or park a B-29 in the garage. 

Imagine flying thousands of miles, dropping tons of bombs, getting a whiff of conflagration cook smoke, and still have to find a dot called Tinian in the middle (bottom right map corner) of the ocean.  

That magnetron just keeps working.


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