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Origins of RAND - Radar development at Tuxedo Park - Alfred Lee Loomis -
multimillionare and the ultimate insider - after the war and retiring he never
gave an interview (the unknown Howard Hughes)
(Tuxedo Park ) Radar won the War - (Manhattan Project) Atomic Bomb ended the war
Ms. Conant talked about her book, Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II, published by Simon and Schuster. The book is the story of Alfred Lee Loomis, a wealthy businessman who was also a scientist. He helped establish a top-secret laboratory at M.I.T. where advanced radar systems were developed that helped the Allies defeat Germany in World War II.
The Origins of RAND
World War II had revealed the importance of technology research and development for success on the battlefield and the wide range of scientists and academics outside the military who made such development possible. Furthermore, as the war drew to a close, it became apparent that complete and permanent peace might not be assured. There were discussions among people in the War Department, the Office of Scientific Research and Development, and industry who saw a need for a private organization to connect military planning with research and development decisions.
In a report to the Secretary of War, Commanding General of the Army Air Force H. H. "Hap" Arnold wrote:
"During this war the Army, Army Air Forces, and the Navy have made unprecedented use of scientific and industrial resources. The conclusion is inescapable that we have not yet established the balance necessary to insure the continuance of teamwork among the military, other government agencies, industry, and the universities. Scientific planning must be years in advance of the actual research and development work."
In addition to General Arnold, key players involved in the formation of Project RAND were:
Edward Bowles of M.I.T., a consultant to the Secretary of War;
General Lauris Norstad, then Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Plans;
Major General Curtis LeMay;
Donald Douglas, President of Douglas Aircraft Company;
Arthur Raymond, Chief Engineer at Douglas;
Franklin Collbohm, Raymond's assistant.
(During the war, both Raymond and Collbohm had been brought to the Pentagon by Bowles to work on a special project that analyzed ways to improve the effectiveness of the B-29.)
In May 1946, the first RAND report appeared, Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship, concerned with the potential design, performance, and possible use of man-made satellites. A year later, Project RAND moved from the Douglas plant at Santa Monica Airport to offices in downtown Santa Monica. Also in 1947, a symposium was held in New York as part of Project RAND's Evaluation Section as a first step in enlisting social scientists for the staff.
By early 1948, Project RAND had grown to 200 staff members with expertise in a wide range of fields including:
mathematicians engineers aerodynamicists physicists chemists economists psychologists
On May 14, 1948, RAND was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under the laws of the State of California. The Articles of Incorporation set forth RAND's purpose in language that was both remarkably brief and breathtakingly broad:
To further and promote scientific, educational, and charitable purposes, all for the public welfare and security of the United States of America.
The three signatories — Franklin Collbohm, H. Rowan Gaither, Jr., and L.J. Henderson, Jr., RAND associate director — together with eight other prominent individuals selected from academe and industry, constituted RAND's original Board of Trustees.
The other eight members were: Charles Dollard, president, Carnegie Corporation of New York; Lee A. Dubridge, president, California Institute of Technology; John A. Hutcheson, director, research laboratories, Westinghouse Electric Corporation; Alfred L. Loomis, scientist; Philip M. Morse, physicist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Frederick F. Stephan, professor of social statistics and director, Office of Survey Research and Statistics, Princeton University; George D. Stoddard, president, University of Illinois; and Clyde Williams, director, Battelle Memorial Institute.
Informal discussions with representatives of the Ford Foundation led to an agreement at the end of July 1948 for an interest-free loan from the Foundation and its guarantee of a private bank loan to RAND. A total of $1 million was secured for operating the new corporation. Four years later, an expansion of the Foundation's loan enabled the establishment of a RAND-Sponsored Research Program, which furnished staff with the means to conduct small non-military research projects. This marked the beginning of the diversification of RAND's agenda and was the first of many grants to RAND by the Ford Foundation to support important new research initiatives.
On November 1, 1948, the Project RAND contract was formally transferred from the Douglas Aircraft Company to the RAND Corporation.
BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS With that brief introduction to the remarkable career of Alfred L. Loomis, we will now examine the man himself, to find, as one might expect, that he was indeed as extraorcli- nary as his unique accomplishments would suggest.
He was born in New York City on November 4, 1887.
His father was Dr. Henry Patterson Loomis, a well-known physician and professor of clinical medicine at New York and Cornell medical colleges.
His grandfather, for whom he was named, was the great nineteenth century tuberculosis specialist whose work was commemorated in the naming of the Loomis Laboratory at Cornell Meclical College, and the Loomis Sanatorium at Liberty, New York. His maternal uncle was also a physician, as well as the father of Alfred Loomis' favorite cousin, Henry L. Stimson, who was Secretary of State uncle Herbert Hoover, and Secretary of War throughout World War II.
From Alfred Loomis' eclucational background, one would correctly judge that he came from a prosperous, but not exceedingly wealthy family. He attended St. Matthew's Military Academy in Tarrytown, New York from the age of nine until he entered Andover [S&B Prep school] at thirteen.
His early interests were chess and magic; in both fields, he attained near professional status. He was a child prodigy in chess, and could play two simultaneous blindfold games. He was an expert card and coin manipulator, and he also possessed a collection of magic apparatus of the kind used by stage magicians.
On one of the family summer trips to Europe, young Alfred spent most of his money on a large box filled to the brim with folded paper flowers, each of which would spring into shape when released from a confined hiding place. His unhappiest moment came when a customs inspector, noting the protective manner in which the box was being held, insisted that it be opened over the strong protests of its owner. It took a whole afternoon to retrieve all the flowers.
Alfred Lee Loomis
Born: 4-Nov-1887 Birthplace: New York City
Alfred Lee Loomis was a wealthy investment banker whose philosophy was to remain as liquid as possible, and as a result he made it through the 1929 stock market crash largely unscathed [Inside information].
When not playing the financial markets, his hobby was science -- he invented an artillery chronograph to measure muzzle velocity of fired shells, and patented an early electroencephalograph. He conducted experiments and research into such topics as sound waves, spectrometry, and the very exact measurement of time, doing all of his work at a lavish laboratory on the grounds of his estate in Tuxedo Park, New York.
His cousin was Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, and from his scientific work and underwriting he counted Vannevar Bush, Robert W. Wood, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. among his friends. On the basis of this and an advanced (for its time) microwave radar set Loomis had designed and installed in a motor vehicle, he was asked to head the National Defense Research Committee's microwave radar project.
His funding, connections, and not insignificant scientific work were instrumental in the development of more advanced radar that gave Allied forces a military advantage during World War II. He was also involved in development of the centrifuge microscope, and attended preliminary meetings of the Manhattan Project.
While already married, Loomis had a long affair with his best friend's wife, Manette Hobart, and they married the same day that his divorce from his first wife was finalized. His son, Alfred Loomis Jr., won a gold medal in the yachting competition in the 1948 Olympics. Another son, Henry Loomis, was appointed by Richard M. Nixon to head the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in the 1970s. His grandfather, Alfred Lebbeus Loomis, was a physician of moderate renown, and Alfred Lee Loomis was a great-uncle of Julie Stimson Thorne, the first wife of US Senator John Kerry.
Father: Henry Patterson Loomis (professor of medicine, b. 1859, d. 1907)
Mother: Julia Stimson Loomis (b. 1861, m. 1887)
Wife: Elizabeth Ellen Farnsworth Loomis ("Betty", d. 1975)
Son: Alfred Lee Loomis, Jr. (venture capitalist, d. 1994)
Son: Henry Loomis (President of Corporation for Public Broadcasting, b. circa 1919)
Son: William Farnsworth Loomis ("Farney", biochemist, b. 1914, d. 1973)
Wife: Manette Seeldrayers Hobart Loomis Christie (d. 1991)
High School: Phillips Academy Andover (1905)
University: BA, Yale University (1909)
Law School: LLD, Harvard Law School (1912)
American Astronomical Society
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Chemical Society
American Philosophical Society
American Physical Society
National Academy of Sciences
RAND Corporation Consultant
Royal Astronomical Society
National Defense Research Committee
Alfred Lee Loomis (November 4, 1887 – August 11, 1975) was an American attorney, investment banker, physicist , philanthropist and patron of scientific research. He established the Loomis Laboratory in Tuxedo Park, New York , and his role in the development of radar is considered instrumental in the Allied victory in World War II . He invented the Aberdeen Chronograph for measuring muzzle velocities, proposed the LORAN navigational system, contributed significantly (perhaps critically, according to Luis Alvarez ) to the development of a ground-controlled approach technology for aircraft, and participated in preliminary meetings of the Manhattan Project .
Loomis also made contributions to biological instrumentation—working with Edmund Newton Harvey, he co-invented the microscope centrifuge, and pioneered techniques for electroencephalography .
In 1937 he discovered the sleep K-complex [REM] brainwave.
In 1917 Alfred Loomis and Landon K. Thorne, the wealthy husband of Loomis's sister Julia, purchased of Hilton Head Island, which they established as a private preserve for riding, boating, fishing and hunting.
They became very wealthy by financing electric companies as these began to establish the electrical infrastructure of rural America, and Loomis sat on the boards of several banks and electric utilities. Loomis and Thorne pioneered the concept of the holding company, consolidating many of the electric companies that operated on the East Coast of the United States . Loomis further increased his fortune via insider trading practices that are now illegal.
In anticipation of the Wall Street Crash of 1929, he had converted most of his investments into cash after the market had risen so dramatically that he and his partner decided it was unsustainable. Once the stock market crash had bankrupted the majority of speculators, while Wall Street floundered, he became even wealthier as a result of purchasing stocks cheaply after they had plummeted in value and few people had the cash to reinvest.
Loomis, always a very private person who avoided publicity, retreated from public life entirely after closing the Rad Lab and finishing his related obligations in 1947. He retired to East Hampton with Manette, and never granted another interview
Henry Loomis - Alfred Lee Loomis's son - origins of Mitre - chip off the
Henry Loomis, 89; Physicist Led VOA and Public Broadcasting
By Joe Holley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Henry Loomis, who died Nov. 2 in Jacksonville, Fla., at age 89, was director of the Voice of America during the Eisenhower administration, president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting during the Nixon administration and a physicist who served as board chairman of the MIT-affiliated defense contractor, Mitre.
Mr. Loomis, who died of complications from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Pick's disease, also was the brilliant son of one of the most extraordinary, if now obscure, Americans of the 20th century.
Mr. Loomis's father, Alfred Lee Loomis, was a fabulously wealthy Wall Street tycoon who survived the Depression years in high style and then, at the height of his influence, quit Wall Street and devoted himself to science.
In Tuxedo Park, N.Y., the tony village 40 miles northwest of Manhattan where the Loomis family lived, he created a magnificent private laboratory in a massive stone castle and hosted the great scientific minds of his day.
As World War II approached, he personally bankrolled pioneering research into radar detection systems and nuclear physics. At his Tuxedo Park mansion, he conferred with the leading scientists of his time, including Albert Einstein, Leo Szilard, Enrico Fermi and Niels Bohr.
Alfred Loomis gave each of his three sons $1 million with which to experiment as teenagers. He also bequeathed his scientific brilliance.
In 1940, realizing that World War II was imminent, Henry Loomis dropped out of Harvard University during his senior year and enlisted in the Navy. (Harvard awarded him his undergraduate degree in physics in 1946, giving him credit for his Navy radar teaching.)
After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he became an instructor at the Navy's Oahu radar training school, teaching senior officers how to use an air-to-surface-vessel radar system that had been developed at his father's laboratory.
Toward the end of the war, when Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves, head of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb, were trying to decide which Japanese cities to bomb, a chance visit by Mr. Loomis helped persuade the two men to spare the ancient city of Kyoto. Mr. Loomis had studied Japanese history at Harvard and was passionate about the ancient city's art treasures.
"I said 'No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, I don't want that,' " he told the Florida Times-Union in 2002.
Stimson, a former secretary of state and war, was a Loomis family cousin and something of a surrogate father to Mr. Loomis. He "used to tell us that we'd been kind of lucky in life and that we owed the country a duty," Mr. Loomis told his father's biographer.
Henry Loomis was born April 19, 1919, in Tuxedo Park, where he played an active role in many of his father's scientific experiments.
In the Florida Times-Union interview, he recalled being 17 and sleeping peacefully in a dark, soundproof room, with electrodes attached to his head, while his father hovered over a nearby microphone.
The elder Loomis knew that his son's great love was the boat Land's End, which Henry and his brother owned. Through the microphone, Alfred Loomis whispered, "Land's End is on fire!"
Young Henry bolted out of bed, wires flying from his head. Still half asleep, he attempted to climb the wall, as if it were the boat's companionway ladder. From the experiment, his father deduced that emotional disturbance altered human brain waves.
Mr. Loomis graduated first in his naval training class and, in addition to teaching radar, served as a radar officer with carriers, air squadrons and battleships. He received the Bronze Star.
After the war, he did graduate work in physics at the University of California at Berkeley, where he was an assistant to radiation laboratory director Ernest Lawrence.
He served on the board of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-affiliated Mitre Corp. for 13 years and worked with the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Department before being named Voice of America director in 1958.
Mr. Loomis realized that English was becoming an international language and was eager for it to be more accessible to VOA's international audience. He pushed for the development of Special English, for listeners learning the language. The news was delivered at a slower pace of nine lines a minute, spoken accurately, and with a vocabulary limited to 1,500 words.
Mr. Loomis quit as VOA director in 1965 after a falling-out with President Lyndon B. Johnson during the Vietnam War. Johnson demanded that VOA keep quiet about American planes flying over Laos. Believing that VOA had an obligation to report the news, Mr. Loomis resigned in protest.
From 1972 to 1978, he was president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. A Middleburg resident during his days in government, he moved to Jacksonville in 1987.
His marriage to Paulie Loomis ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife of 34 years, Jacqueline Chalmers Loomis of Jacksonville; four children from his first marriage, Henry Stimson Loomis of Denver, Mary Paul Loomis of Hyde Park, Vt., Lucy Loomis of Aiken, S.C., and Gordon Loomis of Waxahachie, Tex.; and four stepsons, Charles Williams IV of Orlando, John Williams and David Williams, both of Jacksonville, and Robert Williams of Cary, N.C.; 17 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Cloak and Dollar: A History of American Secret Intelligence - By Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones
Henry Loomis - Eisenhower Administration - Working for the CIA - Came up with Biological and chemical warfare plan for the US
Talking with Alfred - Steven Shapin
He was, Jennet Conant writes, ‘a corporate capitalist of the first order’. In 1928, Stimson warned his cousin about the
massive speculative bubble that was developing in the stock market, and particularly in the electric utilities, but he was preaching to the choir. Loomis had already come to the same conclusion, and in the first few months of 1929 he liquidated all his stocks, prudently turning them into Treasury bonds and cash – just before the Great Crash of 24 October. That was the fortune he lived on for the rest of his life, and it was quite big enough to allow him to retire at the height of the Depression, aged just 46.
In the early 1930s, as the unemployed were selling apples for a nickel in Wall Street, Loomis financed and skippered a no-expense-spared, state-of-the-art America’s Cup yacht, which, nevertheless, finished dead last in the final Newport trials.
He wanted to be, if not a physicist himself, then at least well thought of by physical scientists and of use to their researches. Impressed by Lord Rayleigh’s country-house laboratory at Terling Place in Essex,
Loomis established a superbly equipped laboratory in an annexe to his house in Tuxedo Park, and there began to entertain a succession of eminent, often émigré, often Jewish scientists whose appearance shocked the neighbours: ‘strange outlanders with flowing hair and baggy trousers’.
Over the years, the roll-call of physicists who either visited or worked in the Loomis Laboratory included Enrico Fermi, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Robert Wood, E.O. Lawrence, George Kistiakowsky, Leo Szilárd, the Compton brothers (Arthur and Karl) and Albert Einstein.
Loomis was an excellent keeper of secrets. Later on, his top-security clearances, as well as his abilities and contacts, made him one of the inner circle both in the Manhattan Project, which built the atomic bomb, and especially in the MIT Radiation Laboratory, which constructed the militarily vital distant-object locating systems, radar and LORAN.
It was Loomis who got the ‘Rad Lab’ located at MIT, facing down the opposition of Bell Labs and other industrial firms who feared non-profit academic competition in what they saw as essentially an engineering and production problem. He was, after all, a member of the MIT governing board and a close friend of the university’s president, Karl Compton.
When the Tizard mission arrived from Britain bearing the cavity magnetron that was at the heart of radar’s secret, Loomis popped into Stimson’s Washington office to make sure the secretary of war properly appreciated the huge significance of the device, and Stimson in turn contacted the army chief of staff, General George Marshall, so that he could be briefed by his cousin. That’s the kind of access that shaved weeks off the development of radar when even small delays cost lives.
Loomis browbeat industry representatives from Bell, RCA and Sperry to deliver contract work on a timescale they initially could not even conceive.
When scientists were scraping about for funds to finance early work on fission or microwave detection systems, Loomis emerged as the most effective fixer. Spurred on by Stimson, he was instrumental in getting the Rockefeller Foundation to provide over $1 million for Lawrence’s 184-inch cyclotron at Berkeley, and then he took Lawrence by the hand around an array of Wall Street and engineering firms to knock down the price of steel, copper and other matériel. (It later emerged that Loomis had a controlling interest in several of these firms.)
He was so well networked in contemporary high-tech business circles that he could walk into the General Electric labs and get whatever equipment he and his associates needed.
A 1940 meeting at Berkeley with (from left to right) Ernest O. Lawrence, Arthur H. Compton, Vannevar Bush, James B. Conant, Karl T. Compton, and Alfred L. Loomis
Vannevar Bush (March 11, 1890 – June 28, 1974; pronounced /væˈniːvɑr/ van-NEE-var) was an American engineer and science administrator known for his work on analog computing, his political role in the development of the atomic bomb as a primary organizer of the Manhattan Project, and the idea of the memex, an adjustable microfilm-viewer which is somewhat analogous to the structure of the World Wide Web. As Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Bush coordinated the activities of some six thousand leading American scientists in the application of science to warfare.
Bush was a well-known policymaker and public intellectual during World War II and the ensuing Cold War , and was in effect the first presidential science advisor. Bush was a proponent of democratic technocracy and of the centrality of technological innovation and entrepreneurship for both economic and geopolitical security.
In 1937, Bush became the president of the Carnegie Institution. The institution spent $1.5 million annually on research. The presidency of the institution came with a lot of prestige. The president influenced the direction of research in the U.S. and informally advised the government on scientific matters,
On June 12, 1940, Bush met with President Roosevelt and detailed his plan for mobilizing military research. He proposed a new organization he called the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC).
In mid-1941, The Office of Scientific Research and Development was set up. (OSRD)
Many useful innovations resulted from OSRD research and development including improvements in radar, the proximity fuse, anti-submarine tactics, and various secret devices for the OSS (the precursor of the CIA). Bush was also very closely involved in the Manhattan Project which developed the first atomic bomb. Of course most of OSRD's work was top secret during the war, but Bush as its leader became something of a celebrity. Colliers magazine hailed him as the "man who may win or lose the war"
GROVES AND THE MED (1942)
Vannevar Bush had carefully managed the transition to Army control, there was not yet a mechanism to arbitrate disagreements between the S-1 Committee and the military. The resulting lack of coordination complicated attempts to gain a higher priority for scarce materials and boded ill for the future of the entire bomb project.
Inspecting the Hanford Washington plutonium production plant at the time of the Manhattan Project.
From left to right: James B. Conant, Vannevar Bush, General Leslie Groves and Col. Franklin Matthias
gone from the doe site:
Bush Conant Groves Matthias
In September, Bush and the Army agreed that an officer other than Marshall should be given the assignment of overseeing the entire atomic project, which by now was referred to as the Manhattan Project. On September 17, the Army appointed Colonel Leslie R. Groves (right) to head the effort.