Book ID: CBB815782639

Hot Spot of Invention: Charles Stark Draper, MIT and the Development of Inertial Guidance and Navigation (2019)


Wildenberg, Thomas (Author)

Naval Institute Press

Publication Date: 2019
Physical Details: 320
Language: English

Charles Stark Draper, often referred to as "The Father of Inertial Navigation," was the moving force behind the development of the floated gyroscope in the United States. He was an engineer, a scientist, and an inventor; an inspiring teacher; and a dynamic leader responsible for creating the laboratory that brought inertial navigation to fruition for operational use in submarines, aircraft, and space vehicles. These factors alone make him worthy of study. But Draper also created and ran the famous laboratory, now bearing his name, that helped make MIT into one of the nation's leading research centers for government research. The story of Draper's life and his accomplishments cannot be separated from those of the Instrumentation Laboratory, which are one and the same. Thus, this biography of Charles Stark "Doc" Draper, is also a chronological accounting of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory and its contributions to the nation. Draper's personality, drive, and intellectual curiosity, where at the heart of the success of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory. But Draper's success was also due to his association with MIT, a place that provided the resources, funding, and environment that enabled Draper to achieve greatness. The presence of the Institute's engine laboratory and the research fellowship that drew him back to MIT to pursue a graduate degree laid the ground work for his doctoral dissertation and the development of both the Engine Indicator and the MIT-Sperry Apparatus for Measuring Vibration. For those who are interested in naval history, three of Draper's accomplishments stand out: the Mark 14 lead-computing gunsight, the Submarine Inertial Navigation System, and the inertial guidance systems designed and engineered by Draper's laboratory for the Polaris, Poseidon, and Trident ballistic missiles. The Mark 14 was the first of several Draper gunsights and directors that revolutionized anti-aircraft gunnery in World War II. Close to eighty percent of all enemy aircraft shop down by the U.S. Navy ships in the Pacific during the period from October 1944 thru January 1945 were brought down by Draper equipped anti-aircraft guns. Draper's relationship with the Navy has continued to this day. Draper, the research institution bearing his name that evolved from the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, continues to be the Navy's sole source for Trident's Mk-6 guidance system.

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Authors & Contributors
Dennis, Michael Aaron
Duncan, Francis
Vessuri, Hebe M. C.
Milton, Kimball A.
Nye, Mary Jo
Dawson, Paul Louis
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Physics in Perspective
Quaderns d'Història de l'Enginyeria
Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Air Power History
George Washington University
Naval Institute Press
University of Chicago Press
University of Maryland, College Park
Liveright Publishing Corporation A Division of W.W. Norton and Company
Springer Nature
Technology and war; technology and the military
Scientific communities; interprofessional relations
World War II
Academically sponsored science
Draper, Charles Stark
Rickover, Hyman George
Schwinger, Julian Seymour
Polanyi, Michael
Stapp, John Paul (1910-1999)
Friedman, William F.
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, early
17th century
19th century
United States
North America: United States; Canada
Latin America
United States Navy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
University of California, Berkeley
California Institute of Technology
Solvay Conferences

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