.Perhaps the main reason why we think that most of [W. B.} Smyth's text is factual is that the author(s) seem to have gotten the main facts of the Science and History right. Those, at least, that we can check because indeed a curtain of secrecy seems to have descended upon the lives of most of the prominent characters of the story -- scientists like Gebhardt, Hulbert, Berkner, Lorenzen, etc. even if they were once made famous by their achievements
As it ever has been, so shall it ever be. There will always be those who pass through time, do great things without striving for fame or fortune, and then fade from sight...sometimes helped along by a concerted blurring out effort.
I think the W. B. Smyth pseudonym is not meant to blur, however, but to point directly to a very real W.R. Smythe, who taught a half dozen 7 Nobel Laureates over the course of 40 years. What would make this a particularly interesting speculation in regard to Townsend Brown is that Smythe was already at CalTech by the time Townsend enrolled there in the spring semester of 1924.
Smyth's story begins on page 11 of the linked document. He doesn't get to Townsend Brown until page 20, describing him as a "junior lieutenant in charge of mine sweeping," at the confluence of a couple of important events. The USN had realized that the intense electromagnetic fields needed to counter new German proximity fuses could also, quite possibly, be used to bend light, Einstein was hired by the Naval Ordinance Lab to figure out how to accomplish this.
Smyth mentions Townsend a half dozen or more times or more in the narrative, but never once as the foolish freshman who was chortled out of Caltech by the Great Millikan, awarded his own Nobel Prize for his work in photo electrics in 1923. This leads me to conclude that either Smyth/Smyte was not inclined to waste time on others' embarrassments, or the actual story has been mis-represented.
Smyth ends his account of Townsend's involvement on page 52, with the standard trope: he "had a nervous breakdown" as a result of participating in a final full power test for Project Rainbow.
But Brown actually was on his way to the West Coast, to build the fabulous Wonderland lab in the hills above Laurel Canyon.
Smyth/Smythe had to know about this lab, but its existence was still classified at the time of his interview. Townsend arrived with a Q clearance, and an expanded research charter which now included Optical Intelligence along with Communications and RADAR.
For the record, concurrently with the establishment of the Wonderland lab, CalTech's entire rocket science faculty left the University and became civil servants at the Naval Ordinance Test Station (NOTS) at China Lake. This unit was created by the Secretary of the Navy on 8 November, 1943.
An accounting of this transfer is attached to Nobel Laureate William Fowler's oral history, held by CalTech. A close reading tells me that after the NRL hosing (if the term was good enough for Ross Gunn, it is good enough for me), the Navy managed to squeeze out a budget for the new test range, for the development of small, very un-fancy, nobody's rocking Van Bush's applecart, barrage rockets. (I mean, technically speaking, they were telling the truth. If a barrage is a bombardment, then bombarding things is bombarding things, even if the things are subatomic particles.)
The subtext of these two oral histories, together, seem to be that Navy had gotten their teeth into something too big and too important to \ give over to Van Bush, the Army, or the MIt RADLab. In order to protect their work, it was going to be buried it far out in the California desert, metaphorically speaking.
Do you suppose any of Wonderland's optical science research was furthered by China Lake activities? Or vice versa?
REFERENCES: https://www.academia.edu/11792787/_Go ... ied_Field.
For now, here is a Gone Dark TLDR. If you are a member of Academia.edu, you can download this as part of their .pdf pack. These are top takeaways according to their AI. They would not necessarily by my top takeaways, but they are useful reference points.
" Gone Dark " 50 Years after Albert Einstein: The Failure of the Unified Field The original paper contains 52 sections, with 10 passages identified by our machine learning algorithms as central to this paper.
SUMMARY PASSAGE 1
For as long as one assumed a luminiferous ether medium that had magnetic properties, one could get out of this problem by pointing out that the medium itself drove the repulsion of diamagnetic substances. But this solution brought in turn a whole new batch of problems. If the ether was magnetic, why did one need to invoke the action of matter that was more magnetic than diamagnetic substances?
SUMMARY PASSAGE 2
I. Degaussing And Project Rainbow
J -Are you saying that the observations on magnetism that Reich certainly must have related to Einstein were not relevant to Einstein in 1941, but became relevant when he began working for the Navy in 1943?
SUMMARY PASSAGE 3
J. Project Rainbow, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance And E. Purcell
Rabi's studies --that there was no doubt that nuclei were magnetic dipoles. And so we had to consider the possibility that residual magnetism was a gross external magnetic effect resulting from the magnetic properties of ferromagnetic nuclei. This part of the work refers to the obliteration of the ship's magnetic image --not to what we discussed before, the creation of a false ship image, a "ghost".
SUMMARY PASSAGE 4
J -So Rainbow Was A Precursor Of Nmr, Is That It?
Most of the effort took place at the NRL and at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. By June '43, the DE-173 USS Eldridge was fully fitted with the gargantuan coils, transformers, generators and magnets and the USS Furuseth with all the monitoring and test equipment. Several short experiments were conducted throughout the early Summer of '43 in the hope of hitting the most likely resonances.
SUMMARY PASSAGE 5
Before the U.S. entered World War 11, Lorenzen participated in NRL technical interchange with British scientists fighting the air war over Great Britain. After the Japanese struck the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, his radar work continued in receivers, cathode ray tube displays, transmitters, and motors for naval shore installations, ships, and aircraft. He consulted to MIT Radiation Laboratory engineers who developed microwave radar sets for the U.S. Army Air Forces under Division 14, National Defense Research Committee (NDRC).
SUMMARY PASSAGE 6
Other versions were tailored to surface ships and submarines. To get operational feedback on the UHF signal environment and the systems' usefulness and shortcomings, Lorenzen undertook an unofficial program to analyze intercept operators' logs at NRL. Initially, most of this analytical work was performed by himself and Robert D. Misner.
SUMMARY PASSAGE 7
National Elint Program
To broaden participation in NRL's log analysis effort, Lorenzen promoted in ONI and helped organize a Countermeasures Intercept Analysis Group with sponsorship from the Joint Communication and Electronics Committee (JCEC) of the JRDB. Participating organizations were ONI, NRL, Naval Security Group (NSG), Army Signal Corps, and Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC). He chaired the JCEC analysis working group during the Korean War until it evolved in 1953 to the Army-Navy Electronic Evaluation Group (ANEEG), collocated with NSG Headquarters at 3801 Nebraska Avenue in Northwest Washington.
SUMMARY PASSAGE 8
Bob Misner led the way to machine processing of the GRAB take. Howard Lorenzen collaborated with Lou Tordella on a joint NRL/NSA effort to automate ELINT data processing. Intelligence derived from GRAB satellites --processed by the NSA and SAC --marked a turning point in U.S. strategic doctrine.
SUMMARY PASSAGE 9
Space Systems Division
NRL turned to Howard Lorenzen to repeat in space what he had accomplished in EW: design total systems for military operational support. In February 1971, Lorenzen was appointed Superintendent of Space Systems and organized a new division that consolidated moon relay SIGINT and most of NRL's on-going space projects, including fabrication of lightweight satellite platforms by Peter G. Wilhelm's Satellite Techniques Branch and development of payload electronics and ground readout systems for communications, ELINT, time & navigation, ocean surveillance, and scientific experiments. Some of the former EW branches became a new Tactical EW Division under Lyn Cosby, specializing in systems for Navy ships and aircraft.
SUMMARY PASSAGE 10
NRL proposed the construction of a pilot plant at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in June 1943. On July 24, Van Keuren, Gunn, and Abelson visited NBTL to determine if steam production and available facilities would meet their research needs. 11 days later at a meeting between representatives of both laboratories, it was agreed that NRL's research would move to the Philadelphia facility.