Rude mechanicals

Engineers that changed science while Science was sleeping.

Part 1: The Antikythera Mechanism

Part 2: Nikola Tesla - "the man who invented the 20th century"

Part 3: Tommy Flowers - who designed and built Colossus, an electronic digital computer, during WW2. Used at Bletchley Park to decode the German Lorenz cipher, which was more advanced than the (now more famous) Enigma cipher. It was faster and more powerful than the electro-mechanical device that gathered Alan Turing so much fame for decoding Enigma.

Part 4: Carver Mead

Central to Mead's rescue project are a series of discoveries inconsistent with the prevailing conceptions of quantum mechanics. One was the laser. As late as 1956, Bohr and Von Neumann, the paragons of quantum theory, arrived at the Columbia laboratories of Charles Townes, who was in the process of describing his invention. With the transistor, the laser is one of the most important inventions of the twentieth century. Designed into every CD player and long distance telephone connection, lasers today are manufactured by the billions. At the heart of laser action is perfect alignment of the crests and troughs of myriad waves of light. Their location and momentum must be theoretically knowable. But this violates the holiest canon of Copenhagen theory: Heisenberg Uncertainty. Bohr and Von Neumann proved to be true believers in Heisenberg's rule. Both denied that the laser was possible. When Townes showed them one in operation, they retreated artfully. In Collective Electrodynamics, Mead cites nine other experimental discoveries, from superconductive currents to masers, to Bose-Einstein condensates predicted by Einstein but not demonstrated until 1995. These discoveries of large-scale, coherent quantum phenomena all occurred after Bohr's triumph over Einstein.
Collective Electrodynamics

Part 5: Philip Callahan

Tuning in to Nature: Solar Energy, Infrared Radiation, & the Insect Communication System

Next : The dangers of consensus

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