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Arguable Points

June 2024
1min read

Captain Beach replies: Mr. Davis and I are both right, depending on what we’re using for criteria. While the U.S. Navy was the first to realize something was happening to certain high-frequency radio waves when ships approached—in 1922—real research into the causes and possible applications of the phenomenon did not begin until about 1930. Great Britain began actively to work on it around the same time—1934, according to some sources. As scientists of the two nations made progress, the obvious military value of R Adio D etection A nd R anging caused both governments to impose a very high security classification.

Thus the countries developed radar essentially independently. But it’s now generally accepted that, when the first official exchange of information about it took place, in 1940, England was ahead of us and gave us more (principally the magnetron) than we gave them. I’m sorry now that I said, “We gave radar to them,” for our being “first” is small potatoes compared with the extraordinary development that came afterward. Too many smart people made too many advances in it for anyone, or any nation, to lay claim to it all.

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