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Teamwork saved Britain in the Second World War

From Tony Long, Wired:

On November 16, 1904: British engineer Sir John Ambrose Fleming invents and patents the thermionic valve, the first vacuum tube. With this advance, the age of modern wireless electronics is born.

Although the Supreme Court eventually invalidated Fleming’s U.S. patent — ruling that the technology he used for his invention was already known — he remains the acknowledged inventor of the vacuum tube, a diode (having two electrodes) that would have far-reaching applications. The tube was standard equipment in radio receivers, radar sets, early television sets and other forms of electronic communication for at least half a century, until it was replaced by solid-state electronics in the mid-20th century.

. . .Fleming lived long enough to see the fruits of his labour help save Britain during World War II. Radar sets using Fleming’s diodes proved decisive in the Battle of Britain, allowing a relatively small number of British fighter planes to effectively turn back the Luftwaffe’s onslaught against the home island.

The other Brits essential to this effort, aside from The Few, were Robert Watson-Watt, who thought of using radio waves for echolocation and invented radar (RAdio Detection and Ranging) and Harry Boot and John Randall who invented the first practical microwave transmitter so Luftwaffe positions could be sent to The Few waiting to take them on.


Thanks to Instapundit for the link.

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