Radar | The Rad Lab | 17


Hello Hello, it's a little after eleven pm on November Fourteenth Nineteen. Forty Coventry England is under attack and inside a military bunker. The telephone line has just gone dead. A young lieutenant carefully sets the phone back down on its cradle. His skin is Pale clammy. Miss offer lip is twitching with fear, but he tries to keep his face perfectly still as he sets off through the bunker back towards this man. For the past three hours, German planes have been pummeling the city with incendiary bombs. New kind of bomb designed to ignite fires. Stone buildings glow read from the heat. The smell of burning flesh fills the air. Black smoke chokes out every last drop of might. The lieutenant approaches the soldiers manning. The anti-aircraft gun mounted weapon. It's more like a cannon and a rifle. He has to yell over the noise. The communications are down. I can't reach. The commanding officers for orders were on our own. One of the soldiers took to him alarmed sweat trips down his face I. I can't see any of their planes through the smoke I. Don't know where to aim. They're all getting through. We have to figure out a way. This isn't the first time Coventry has been attacked. It's home to numerous factories that are essential to the war effort, but now the Germany's realized England's chain home radar system can't spot incoming planes at night. It's sending in more bombers with more destructive bombs than ever before. The lieutenant peers out into the sky. The soldier is right. They can hear the planes roaring overhead, but between the darkness and the smoke. They can't see them. Suddenly there's a flash of light breaking through the smoke. That's a searchlight. What that's a search light shining down from a Nazi plane aim for that I don't know how far away they are. Just do your best. Send up storm of bullets at them. We have to stop these planes. The soldiers lineup the gun as best they can and start firing. But they strike nothing and another bomb soon falls. One of the soldiers. What's another searchlight through the smoke? There's another one quick aim the gun. They pointed a gun to where he saw the searchlight and fired off again. They miss again. The German raid continues all night. Two thirds of Coventry's buildings damaged or destroyed. By the morning, the Nazis will have coined a new word. Coventry Erin meaning to raise a city to the ground. Jane home is no longer keeping the Germans Bay and despite firing ten rounds a minute at the German planes, the British only managed to shoot one claimed out. If England can't find a better way to protect itself. It's defeat is only a matter of time. Yen is the payments platform built to help your business grow without yen. You can accept payments in-app online in store, touch free, and beyond think about it more ways to get paid in more places. What could that do for you hire sales and happier customers for starters. ADIAN technology adapts to any business store, industry or Shopper Journey online retail marketplace's subscriptions mobile wallets model payments. You can do any of it or all of it. You'll get flexible features that fit your business with a single integration. You even get revenue, optimization and customer insights as part of the same solution Adian built their platform to help businesses like yours from day one. visit add Y. E. N.. Dot Com slash wondering to get started. That's a D. Y. E. N. dot com slash wondering ad. Business not boundaries. From wondering I'm Steven Johnson and this is American innovations. With England's invention of cavity resonant magnetron, the potential of microwave radar was finally confirmed, but that's still all it was potential turning that potential into an actual air to air radar system required resources. That war strapped England no longer half, so the English took a calculated risk. They handed over their most valuable piece of technology to the Americans who had the factories, the labs and the money needed to make the world's first microwave radar system. But? I the Americans could have to figure out how to do it or if they even could. And all the while England's defenses would be left hanging by threat. This is the third and final episode in our series the Rad lab. It's December first nineteen forty Alfred loomis is walking through the halls of. Building for. The school has designated four thousand square feet for the microwave radar team, and today is the team's first official meeting. Hummus is excited. It took him two years on a lucky break from the British, but the US government is finally funding the creation of a microwave radar system, but they're still keeping loomis on a short leash. The army and the Navy don't have much faith in team can hack it. Luma stacked is team with academics no military scientists incite. Luma swings open the door. Thirty men turned toward their shirts that rumpled. Some aren't even wearing matching socks. They've traveled here. Little notice from all over the country. Many of them are bunking together and hotels. They look for more permanent housing, but the looks on their faces tell Lummus that they're all ready to get to work. Luma strides to the front of the room. Welcome to the Rad lab gentlemen. It's official name is the radiation lab. Nee meant to throw people off the scent of the labs. Real purpose radiation is a far off. Proposition radar is something. They hope to surprised Germany with very soon. As you all are aware time is of the essence England is reeling. Germany is becoming more and more aggressive by the day we need. This technology deployed as fast as possible. He turns and writes on the chalkboard behind him. So these are our deadlines January six. We will have a fully operational microwave radar system installed on the roof of this building by February first a working system for B eighteen bomber. A shocked murmur runs through the crowd. They knew they would be working fast, but loomis is giving them just over two months. One scientists speaks up. This feels unrealistic for one of a nuclear physicist. I've never worked with microwaves before. Almost nobody has were all gonNa need to learn from the ground up. loomis nods. He knows what he's asking. These men is a lot, but he doesn't have any leeway. This is the timetable. The any are see the national. Defense Research Committee has agreed upon the government is given Luma's five hundred thousand dollars as initial funding, but if he wants more, he needs to show results gentlemen, I understand what I'm asking for is hard, but it needs to be done. To. ISIDOR Robbie a physicist from Columbia University cuts through the din. Gentlemen were not on the academic calendar here. We're in a time of war. The faster rebuild is saying the faster Nazis start dying. Like. Many scientists in the room Robbie is Jewish. He still has family in Poland of the scientists who aren't Jewish. Many of them studied in Europe, and formed close bonds with Jewish scientists. All of them want to see Hitler stocked. loomis nods at Robbi glad for his support. Over the next several weeks, the men broke into teams each tackling a different component of the microwave radar system transmitters pulse modulators, receivers Edward Bowen. The British radar scientist who escorted the cavity magnetron across the Atlantic. Ocean joined the team, but even with Bowen's help. The men worked around the clock just to get up to speed. It's January fourth nineteen forty one two days before the team's first deadline. It's a crisp cold morning, but thankfully there's a break in the snow. That's fallen all week. loomis trumping up to the roof of MIT's building six where the Rad lab has installed their first microwave radar system Robbie is waiting for loomis on the roof. Welcome sir. loomis nods and looks around the radar system takes up the entire roof. And one end, pointing towards the Boston skyline across the frozen Charles River is the transmitting antenna on the other end is the receiving antenna both are large and crudely put together by men with little engineering background Robbie leads LOOMIS TOWARDS A curtained-off area in the corner of the roof right this way Sir probably pulls back the curtain to reveal at share and the display monitor. The curtain blocks glare loomis nods and sits several scientists crowded in behind him, peering over his shoulder. Luma's can practically feel the nervous energy radiating off them, but see what this thing can do. Robby nods to a scientist standing near the transmitting antenna. The test today is a simple one deceive. The radar can pick up the buildings approximately two miles across the river starter up. Almost immediately blips show up the screen. loomis smiles broadly. Scientists cheer. They've accomplished the first milestone with ease it works. He points to one of the DOTS on the screen. Is that the Christian Science Churches Dome? This is fantastic great work gentlemen. He stands to go and Shakes Robbie's hand I'm GONNA. Go find the nearest phone to share the news. loomis hurries off to call the DRC in a jubilant mood. He'd love to see the smug faces of the military men when he tells them that his academics have delivered ahead of schedule. But once loomis is left. Bobby Smile Titans. He looks around the roof. Equipment is sprawled everywhere. Jerry rig together to hit their next deadline. They'll have to fit everything in sight into the nose of a plane and they have less than four weeks to do it. Few days later Robbie walks into the RAB lab with a plain wooden box under his arm. Scientists look up at him from their work confused. What's that? Ravi places the box on a work table in the center of the lab. That is how small we need to make our next radar system. That is not a lot of space. Robby nods in agreement. The Vox is about thirty cubic inches larger than a paperback, but smaller than a brick node is not. So what parts of the system can we do without? Nobody speaks for a moment. Well? Maybe we don't need to antennas. Maybe we could use the same antenna for transmitting and receiving Robbie knots. He's already thought of that, but it's a tricky proposition. Transmitting antennas need to be powerful enough to send out. Waves can travel long distances well, receiving antennas. Sensitive enough to pick up the waves that echo back and are much much fainter. When the two roles share antenna, the outgoing wave usually overpowers and burns out the sensitive receiver. Another scientist pipes up. I've worked with the dual antenna. We used a buffer. It's a gas that gets released every time. A transmission signals sent. It neutralizes some of the burn out to protect the receiver. Bobby shakes his head. He's way ahead of them. Combining antennas is the right call, but we're not going to be able to do it that way. Gas takes a moment to dissipate. Dissipate and until it does it interferes with the receiver of in the air. The antenna needs to work at short range. If we're detecting something. That's only a few hundred yards away. The gas won't be gone by the time. Echo returns Krabi strides the chalkboard at the front of the room. We're LOOMIS I the team to the deadlines they meet the head. Someone has drawn a line through the January. Sixth deadline, but February first looms large, so let's start brainstorming. The team worked for weeks to come up with the solution. Finally they made a leap forward by looking backward the classroom. The forefather of the cavity magnetron could protect the receiver from overheating and allow them to combine antennas, but by February I the team was only marginally closer than they were on January six to having a radar system that worked there work held up on paper, but they need it to work inside the space of thirty cubic inches. It's Wednesday February fifth nineteen, forty one. Alfred, loomis is in his room at the Ritz Carlton Boston when the Phone Rings Luma's forces himself to answer it. On the other end is Luma's feared. Is Vanita Bush ahead of the? Alfred, it's Neva. I'm calling for a status update. Do they have a prototype that can go on a plane yet? The men are working on it around the clock. There's still some issues, but I'm confident. They'll have a breakthrough soon. The deadline was four days ago. It was and I wish I had better news to report, but we both knew that deadline was optimistic. But discuss it at a meeting on Friday. Deadline is a deadline loomis working with the military here. We can't be Blue Guzzi with our commitments I. think that's premature Sir. We'll discuss it on Friday. Lummus hangs up the phone, a thinking feeling in his gut. Fridays in two days if the RAD lab doesn't show concrete progress by then Bush will defend the Rad lab endangering the future of the project and losing valuable time to protecting on. Hiring can be difficult, but if you're a company that's currently trying to hire you. Face new difficulties from safely reopening your doors to finding the right person for a specialized role housing wire could relate. They needed to hire an ambitious reporter to cover news stories on the US, mortgage and housing markets, so they turned to Ziprecruiter, Ziprecruiter, smart matching technology finds people with the right experience for your job. In fact, four to five employers who post on Ziprecruiter get a quality candidate within the first day. That's how housing wire found Alexandra Rojo Alexandra. Never imagined she could get a reporter job in the midst of. Of covid nineteen hiring was frozen, and the idea of looking for a job was discouraging, so she created a profile on Ziprecruiter ziprecruiter matched Alexandra to housing wires reporter job because her degree in writing skills were a great fit for the role housing received our application only four hours after they posted the job in a few weeks later Alexandra started her dream career ziprecruiter Alexandra fine the right job and they helped housing wire. Find the right person for their role. Fast see how ziprecruiter can help you hire. Try it now for free at ZIPRECRUITER DOT COM SLASH AI! That's ziprecruiter dot com slash AI. As your morning, coffee brews, the aroma fills your nose and begins to wake you up. You pour your first cup stirring the Creamer, and before taking that delicious I. Sip you press. Play your favorite podcast. American innovations begins as you explore the wonders and advancements of smartphones, three D. printers and more learning, just how these innovations came to be, and now your day is off to a great start. Enjoy American innovations in the new wondering APP the best place to quickly find listen to your favorite wonder. He show, download it today, and for a limited time starter thirty day trial for AD. Free listening with wonder plus Wandry feel the story. It's the wee hours of the morning on Friday February seventh, nineteen, forty one. The Sun is just starting to peak over the horizon. Robby blows into his hands, trying to warm them up beside him through his. The young promising physicist from UC Berkeley tinkers with their prototype. Along with a handful of other scientists, they've been on the roof for almost twenty four hours. They finally gotten their prototype down to size, but now it can barely pick up one of the big buildings across the river. Let alone a plane flying overhead. And just a couple of hours, the microwave committee will be meeting, and if they haven't picked up a plane by then, they know it's the end of the road for the rat. Alvarez finishes his tinkering screws the lid back on the prototype. Okay. Let's try this again. Robbie takes up position behind a telescope and scans the sky looking for plane. We got one at three. o'clock of hers turns on the Radar Stations himself in front of the display monitor. He hasn't felt his feet in twelve hours there so cold, but he's a true believer. He knows. The Rad lab is onto something. A plane makes its way through the Sky Alvarez. On the screen, but it stays blank. Let me. Try something else. The UNSCREWS THE LID again. The scientists are still at it. When a few hours later, the sunrises over Washington DC LUMA has already up pacing the length of his hotel suite. He keeps one eye on the phone any second now it could ring and be someone from the Rad lab. Call Him with news. He could bring to his meeting with Bush. He checks his watch. You really should go if he wants to make it to the meeting on time. He reaches to put on his coat, but stops himself. Maybe can wait five more minutes. He'll just tell his driver to step on it. How tragic would it be if you missed a call from the RAD, lab by a matter of minutes? He pours himself another cup of coffee and continues to pace. Back on the roof, the wind blows turning the scientists cheeks. Red Robbie is scanning the sky for plane. The metal of the telescope cold against his skin. Got One! Boots up the radar and crouches over the screen now that the sun's up more scientists have joined them on the roof. Probably looks over the crew around the screen anything. Alvarez shakes his head. Still Nothing. He crouches down and starts unscrewing the LID for the teen. Time. Looks at his watch. It's after nine. The meeting started too late. Alvarez shakes his head. He's not giving up on this. They'll be meeting for at least two hours. We just have to figure this out before the meeting breaks up. Robbie size, he's tired and hungry, but fell. Various isn't going to give up the, neither is he alright? Kneels down beside veras and they check inside the radar once again. It's ten am. loomis is sitting with other members of the Microwave Committee in Veneer Bush's Office at the Carnegie Institute and everyone is staring at him waiting for him to answer well, we're right on the cusp of a major breakthrough I mean very close, indeed, one of the representatives from the army leans forward. What does cusp mean precisely what they've been able to? Well, they're now able to send and receive the signal from the same antenna, which is great accomplishment, but have they tracked a plane loomis, not the last. I heard of course. I haven't spoken anyone there since yesterday evening. It's possible they've had a breakthrough while we've been meeting. Bush raises his eyebrows. Kley I assume someone over there has the number to my office. loomis looks at him annoyed. Yes, of course. then. I think we can assume that a breakthrough has been made. We would have heard. Most likely yes. The army representative smirks. I can't say I'm surprised. I always said that it was unwise to trust a bunch of academic scientists to conquer a military problem, Luma snaps at him. These are the brightest minds of their generation. The representative from Bell Labs snorts. He doesn't like the idea of academic scientists any better than the military does, and the academics fail May. Bell labs can take over. He Leans in. That's the problem Hummus. You have a bunch of Prima Donnas over there all competing with each other trying to be the star dancer rather than working together to solve the problem with respect I have not seen any evidence for that. The representative shrugs well. You're not getting results either Bush holds up his hand to stop the sniping look. Alfred I back to up on this I endorsed the idea of setting up the RAD lab mit rather than handing over the research and development to the army or one of the industrial apps, but it's time to acknowledge. They're not getting results. We need to think about changing our approach. Back on the roof. Another Berkeley Recruit Lauriston Marshall is leaning over the prototype next to Alvarez. Alvarez looks away from the prototype to his watch. The meeting is winding down about now I'm calling it time to throw in the towel. Marshall doesn't respond. He Leans in closer. I think I know what's wrong. He turns to Alvarez. Give screwdriver. We need to get this antenna out of here. Alvarez looks at him confused. What why? I don't think this is a problem with the signal I think this is a mechanical engineering problem I hate to say this, but a really simple engineering problem I think the antennas just stuck. Back when loomis and his team were first experimenting with microwave radar, they learned the hard way that the antenna wouldn't work if it stayed. Stationary microwaves are small, which means it's easy for them to miss an object. Older radar system sent out. Wavelengths were several meters long, but these new waves closer to ten centimeters. The antenna needs to constantly be in motion. Scanning left to right and back again to make sure the waves hit any objects. What if they're antenna hadn't been scanning this entire time? Marshall freeze the antenna and holds it in his hand manually waving it from side to side as he pointed towards sky. Alvarez watches the screen. Back in Bush's office LOOMIS is staying quiet. He's still doing. The army. Representative is holding court. It's time for the military to take charge. We know what we need. We know how to operate under pressure. The Bell Labs Representative clears his throat. With all due respect, we have a track. Record shows that he's interrupted by Bush's secretary entering the room. Sorry interrupt Mr Zuma's. There's an urgent phone call for. loomis looks up. He hardly dares to hope, but who else could it be? Homeless gets up and crosses to the phone on the corner. His hands shake adrenaline through him. He can feel all the other men in the room. Watching it, they must also be thinking. It's the RAB. They seem markedly less excited about that idea. Lomas picks up the phone working hard to keep his voice steady. This is Luis. Alvarez and Robbie are shouting over each other. We did it. We tracked Fight Mechanical Trauma Fixed, but we did it. We tracked a plane with one antenna. Are we too late? loomis breaks out in a huge grin. He looks at everyone watching. They can guess what loomis has just been told, but Luma's can't resist rubbing it in their faces. What's that you say you tracked a plane? Hummus raises his voice even louder. And how far did you say he pauses dramatically? Two miles well, that's very impressive, keeps his eyes on the army and bell labs representatives who are scouring with disappointment congratulations boys. This is fantastic news. Just in the nick of time I'll see you back at the lab. Pauses for a moment, then turns back to the committee. Well, gentlemen, having met the extended deadline. It seems our original agreement is back on. The Rad lab will remain in charge of the microwave radar system. He crosses to the Kodak in the corner and if you'll excuse me I am needed back at the lab. He throws on his coat and exits the room. You can hear the men still grumbling behind him as the door closes any starts down the stairs. He doesn't care. He skips every other step grinning like a schoolboy. That step fitting the miniaturized radar system into an actual plane and taking I spin. Lummus can't wait to get started. But across the pond, where the war rages on, the Germans had found a new kink in England's armor. They've moved away from aerial bombing and are now directing their submarines to attack supply ships. England supply chain is being cut off at the pass. Microwave radar was developed in the hopes of creating an air to air radar system. Just months ago, that was considered an impossible feat. But now to win the war, it won't be enough. Radar will have to contend with the clouds and the seat. Today's episode is brought to you by athletic. Greens, the all in one daily drink to support better health and peak performance. Even with a balanced diet, it's difficult to cover all of your nutritional basis. That's where Athletic Greens can help their daily drink is like nutritional insurance for your body. That's delivered straight to your door. You might have heard me talk about Athletic Greens before now. That I've been using it for several weeks. I continue to be really impressed with the product. It's easy to put together. It tastes great and I really noticed sense of increased focus during the day Athletic Greens improves your everyday performance by addressing the four pillars of health, energy, recovery, Gut, health and immune support, and they do this by packing their greens powder with adapted jains, probiotics and vitamin C.. Got No harmful chemicals. No GMO's and no funny additives. Now is the perfect time to try athletic. Greens fear Self Visit Athletic Greens dot com slash ai to claim a special offer just for listeners of our show of twenty free daily travel packs with your first purchase. A seventy nine dollars added value again. That's athletic. Greens dot com slash ai all in one nutrition in seventy, five highly absorbable ingredients. The car is packed. The kids are all buckled in, and it is time for the family road trip, and we have just the thing to keep you and your kids entertained wonder. He's family road trip playlist on spotify is full of episodes of some of our most beloved family. Friendly shows take the family on an exploration through the history of the US National Park. Park System on American history tellers, or get the inside scoop on your favorite superheroes on business wars, marvel versus DC FROM TV to movies. NETFLIX's to comecon these two superhero mavens. Keep US excited. Keep the family entertained with a playlist of shows that are sure to keep. The whole family engaged all drive long search for wondrous family road trip playlist only on spotify. It's March Twenty, seven, thousand, nine, hundred, forty one. Alvarez Bowen loomis out a handful of other labs. Scientists are crowded into a B eighteen bomber over Cape Cod. Bay. The team has just made history. Their radar system installed in the bombers knows successfully picked up another playing. loomis dream of creating an air to air microwave radar system has been realized. But nobody's smiling. Lomas looks around the pine and tries to lighten the mood. We did it gentleman. Nobody thought we could, but we showed him. The other men force themselves to smile. They've all seen the morning papers. Germany's changing their strategy. They're not just air bombing England anymore. They're starving at out with well-placed submarines. If Germany's boats strangle England's shipping lanes, the island country won't last long. All their work toward building a microwave radar system will be for naught. Even if the English can fend off aerial attacks, they'll still lose the war. Alvarez peers down through a window and spies merchant ships in the bay. Each one is hundreds of feet long. Hey. Why don't we see if we can pick up one of those ships? Everyone perks up a little. Nobody's ever tried to track a ship with microwave radar. old-fashioned radar systems were known to be useless at C. Radio waves just bounced off the surface of the ocean, so the system couldn't pick out smaller objects, but while they're above obey. There's no harm in seeing microwave radar can do. Lummus Leans forward to the pilot you mind circling back, around. Bowing changes the settings of the radar to aim down toward the water. A blip appears on the radar screen. Laura's looks out the window. That's definitely the boat. Lummus Leans towards the pilot. What's allegation right now? The recruits ended about two thousand feet. Lummus nuts happy the teams back in good spirits. Except for Bowen, the lone British scientists on the team. He's lost in thought. A German boat, a much smaller target than a merchant ship. What's more, you boat? Spend most of their time. Underwater or they are undetectable by radar. But they do have to surface frequently, which at least theoretically give planes and opportunity to spot. Bone turns to the, pilot. The navy as a submarine yard right. Far Away, is it? About a hundred miles. Can we go there? It'll be a little tight on fueled, but now we can make it. Looks to Loomis for his approval. loomis gives a nod. Let's go. A little later. They're flying over Long Island. Sound off New London Connecticut. As they approached, the sound pilot lowers the plane's altitude. Bone stares at the screen. If they pick up a surfaced submarine from here, it will be a true breakthrough and the game changer for England On the first pass, the radar stays dark. Feels the stomach sink. He knew it was a long shot, but he'd gotten his hopes up. He reminds himself. This doesn't mean they won't be able to build a radar system that can detect submarines. They've already come this far after all the pilot soups around and takes another pass. A blip appears on the radar screen. Bowen Lights. Are We sure that the submarine Alvarez is peering out the window with binoculars. Yes, I see one in the water. That's true signal. The men cheer. Bowen tries not to cry. England will have a fighting chance after all. The team the lab continued to. Microwave radar system and developed new uses for it. I September nine, hundred, forty one. The radar system, was able to detect ships on an overcast day from an altitude of eight thousand feet at a distance of forty miles. Soon after that loomis also scored a personal victory. Oh. Come in come in. It's fall. Nineteen, forty, one and loomis is welcoming representative from the navy into his hotel suite. Of all the branches of the military, the Navy has always been the most skeptical of Lewis's approach. How can I help you well? We've been keeping up with test of your microwave radar system of course hummus. Not Yes, it's quite incredible isn't a bunch of professors were able to develop? The, Navy Rep. Voiding I contact with loomis. We'd like a system for ourselves, please. Oh what's that now? I couldn't quite hear you. The navy rep rolls his eyes, but before you start gloating loomis, we're only asking for one. We're not installing it into our full fleet going to put it through our own rigorous testing. Thank you. I'm quite certain that it will perform under any manner of conditions. In the Navy tested the radar system, it did indeed live up to Lewis's promise in the spring of Nineteen, forty to the army, and the Navy began installing it throughout their services, Bowen, and the British started seeing their own victories to. Its June nineteen, forty, two, and a young German officer, is walking quickly through the hallways of Germany's U Boat High Command offices. He breathes quickly practicing what he's going to say to his commanding officer in his head. However, he phrases it. His boss won't be happy. He takes a deep breath and knocks on the door. Your men. The young officer walks in his commanding is sitting with one of the scientists working on new boats. The young officer looks around nervously. We've lost another one. The commanding officer grimaces the same pattern as the others the young officer not the crew spotted a convoy of British ships. They started calling in other u boats to help with the attack, but then the transmission stopped. The first boat just disappeared. This is the fourth you boat. We've lost in three months. He turns to the scientists. What is going on? Are they finding our boats to the British of some new form of radar? The scientists scoffs. That's impossible. There's no radar that can pick up one submarine in the ocean. It has to be something else. The Germans wouldn't discover. Allies had microwave radar for another year by then the attacks on u boats had become so successful that they were destroying more votes than the Germans could build. Nine, hundred, forty four, the allies had installed microwave radar systems onto thousands of bomber planes further changing the tenor of the war Germany was forced to play defense as allied bombers whizzed through overcast skies and raised German factories. And the Allies invaded the Normandy coast radar was right there with helping bombers. Take on German aircrafts guiding paratroopers to the ground and directing anti-aircraft guns. The gave the troops a fighting chance to advance inland. Back at MIT, the Rad lab continued to find more uses for microwave radar systems, and in nineteen, forty two, when ernest needed to recruit the country's brightest minds to come to los, Alamos he knew where to start? Many of the scientists who built the atomic bomb came straight from the rat. Nowadays we think of the atomic bomb is the technology that won the war, but the scientists who worked in secret at the RAD lab better. By the time the US dropped the bond. The allies victory was already guaranteed. The bomb brought the war to close, but radar was the technology that won it. Since you're radar has continued to evolve. While the cavity magnetron is still used in some radar sets been largely replaced by newer technology, but it is live on in another way. In nineteen forty five and engineer named Percy Spencer was testing magnetron when he felt something warm against his chest, the candy bar in his shirt pocket had melted. His. Curiosity Piqued. He plays an egg near the magnetron to see what would happen. Exploded in his face. The next day he brought in Popcorn kernels and made popcorn for the office. Spencer immediately knew he was on to something. You build a metal box to contain the magnetron power, and a few months later filed a patent for microwave oven. Nowadays more than ninety percent of American homes have a microwave oven. Six hundred million microwave ovens are in use around the world. And, so microwave radar, the top secret technology that won the war lives on our kitchen counters. Unseen, but in plain sight. From, wondering this is episode, three of radar for American innovations. If you like our show, please give us a five star rating and review and be sure to tell your friends subscribe on Apple Podcasts, spotify, wondering or wherever you're listening right now, join wondering plus in the wonder Yap to listen. Ad Free in the episode notes. You'll find some links and offers from our sponsors. Please support them. Another way you can support. The show is by filling out a small survey at wondering dot com slash survey. Tell us which innovation stories you by a year. And a quick note about the re-creations who've been hearing in most cases. We can't know exactly what was said. Those scenes are dramatization, but they're based on historical research. American innovations has hosted by me. Steven Johnson more information on my books about science innovation, including my latest enemy of mankind. You can visit my website Steven. Berlin Johnson Dot Com. Sound design in this episode is by land in the Pinski. This episode was written by reckless with editing by Liza. Veal produced by Natalie Shisha executive produced by Jenny lower back. Men are shall Louis and Hernando Pez wondering. Hey I'm Marisha and I'm Brooke where the hosts of wondrous show even the rich each week we bring you totally true and totally shocking stories about the greatest family dynasties, the world has ever seen our current series features a determined mother, the richest man in the world and a kidnapping gone horribly horribly wrong. Subscribe to even the rich Getty's on apple podcasts spotify the wondering APP or wherever you're listening right now.

Coming up next