The Invention That Changed the World is the great and largely untold story of the colorful band of brilliant scientists who created the microwave radar systems that not only helped win World War II but set off a veritable explosion of scientific achievements and technological advances that have transformed our daily lives. The story begins in September 1940 with the arrival in Washington of a team of British scientists bearing England's most closely guarded technological secrets, among them the cavity magnetron, a revolutionary new source of microwave energy that was to pave the way for radar systems small enough to fit on planes and ships. The magnetron's arrival triggered the most dramatic mobilization of science in history as America's top scientists enlisted in the "war within the war" to convert the British invention into a potent military weapon. Developed in a top-secret rush at the Radiation Lab on the campus of MIT, microwave radars eventually helped destroy Japanese warships in the Pacific, brought down Nazi buzz bombs over England, and enabled Allied bombers to "see" through cloud cover over Germany and Japan. Although the atomic bomb ended World War II, in many ways radar won it. Capturing all the drama and excitement of the race to develop radar, The Invention That Changed the World then follows the postwar careers of the radar scientists as they applied the knowledge gained from their wartime work in many different fields. The Rad Lab was an incubator for science and technology on a scale perhaps unprecedented in history. Among their many achievements, radar veterans were instrumental in creating the field of radio astronomy and discovering nuclear magnetic resonance, thetransistor, and the maser, breakthroughs that led to the Nobel Prizes. In the continuing push to develop early warning systems during the Cold War, other radar men helped create the basis for digital computer memories. In very practical ways, radar and its spin-offs continue to enhance our lives, whether by controlling civilian air traffic, helping to forecast the weather, or providing physicians with powerful diagnostic tools.
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