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1938

Professor Wilmer L. Barrow adjusts the transmitter of an electromagnetic horn antenna that is part of a system he developed for "static-less" ultrahigh frequency wave transmission. The system consisted of a conductor tube, a transmitting terminal device, and either a receiving terminal unit or a radiating end such as the electromagnetic horn. The horn's hollow tube operated on waves only a few hundredths of a meter long and filtered out low-frequency signals while transmitting high-frequency waves. This system pioneered high-efficiency transmission of communication signals. Professor Barrow later taught at the MIT Radar School and became its director in 1943. (Photo courtesy MIT Museum)

1940

Three-thousand-megahertz 10-centimeter klystrons (above left). In the Sperry Short Wave Antenna Project at MIT, two were attached to receiver horns and used to radiate a beam of microwave energy in a split beam pattern. An experiment carried out by Professor Wilmer L. Barrow and a team of research assistants (including Edward C. Dench, Frank D. Lewis, Walter W. Mieher, Daniel S. Pensyl, and Henry J. Zimmermann) demonstrated the devices' ability to track a moving two-by-three-foot sheet of aluminum. In the photograph at right are two 10-centimeter waveguides, a T junction (left), and a "twister." The T junction waveguide was outfitted with a tuning plunger and used with the Sperry klystrons to maximize a standing wave. The twister changed a vertical polarized wave to a horizontal polarized wave. (Photos by John F. Cook)

1946

During the late '20s and early '30s at MIT's Round Hill research program, Professor Julius A. Stratton worked with graduate students (later Professors) Henry G. Houghton and William H. Radford on transmitting electromagnetic wave signals through fog to assist in the blind landing of aircraft, and later to locate land and ocean objects from the air. Professor Stratton's book, Electromagnetic Theory, published in 1941, is still considered an essential text in the field today. As a staff member in MIT's war-time Radiation Laboratory, he worked on the development of long-range navigation systems (LORAN) and became RLE's first director in 1946, continuing the Rad Lab's tradition of interdisciplinary research. Professor Stratton was also instrumental in establishing many innovative academic and research policies in his several administrative capacities at MIT (including provost, chancellor, and president). (Photo courtesy MIT Museum)

1952

Professor Lan Jen Chu, a doctoral student of Professor Wilmer L. Barrow in 1938, developed new antenna designs for the radar systems created at MIT's Radiation Laboratory and traveled to his homeland, China, to introduce microwave radar during World War II. He conceived the "Chu formulation" of electrodynamics and discovered the small-signal power theorem, which was the forerunner of the small-signal energy principles of plasma physics. Professor Chu was known not only for his contributions to modern electromagnetic theory and its applications, but also for making it accessible to undergraduates and for developing special programs for exceptionally gifted students. (RLE file photo)

1960s

Professor Robert L. Kyhl explains a transmission line model for electromagnetic waves in dielectric slabs. (Photo by Ivan Massar/Black Star)

1972

Professors Jin Au Kong (left) and Paul L. Penfield, Jr., discuss an experiment conducted by astronauts during the Apollo XVII moon mission to study the electrical properties of the lunar subsurface. Subsurface probing of lunar electrical properties seeks to provide information on the structure, history, and origin of the moon. (Photo by Ivan Massar/Black Star)

1975

On the rooftop of MIT Building 54, Professor Jeffrey H. Shapiro (left) and Robert S. Kennedy check an optical communication receiver used in one of their propagation experiments to determine the fundamental performance capabilities of optical communication systems. (Photo by Ivan Massar/Black Star)

1986

Research Assistant Carey M. Rappaport (left) and Professor Frederic R. Morgenthaler investigate optimized electromagnetic techniques for the microwave radio-frequency heating of biological tissue. Such techniques may create methods to produce hyperthermia conditions for use in certain types of cancer therapy. (Photo by John F. Cook)

1991

Professor Jin Au Kong displays a model aircraft that is a conceptual representation of future vehicles which might benefit from navigation systems investigated by RLE's Electromagnetics Group. This research includes the study of interference as it relates to potential aircraft navigation systems such as the Instrument Landing System, the Microwave Landing System, the Global Positioning System, and synthetic vision systems. (Photo by John F. Cook)