American Experience (January 2018)
The little-known story of the Wall Street tycoon-turned-scientific benefactor who helped win WWII.
Tuxedo Park, an unassuming village 40 miles north of New York City, served as the site of a cutting edge laboratory during the 1930s and ’40s, overseen by Alfred Loomis. After making his fortune on Wall Street, and cagily avoiding the crash of 1929, the wealthy gentleman scientist opened his mansion, known as Tower House, to pioneering thinkers in science and engineering from home and abroad, defying the isolationism of the time. As war erupted in Europe, and convinced that America inevitably would be drawn into the conflict, Loomis began developing game-changing technology to combat the Axis’ seemingly unstoppable war machine. Working in secret, Loomis and his team would perfect short wave radar technology in his Rad Lab, as revealed in Rapley’s informative, if conventional, biographical profile. While the dramatic introduction of atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki would steal radar’s thunder – and the notoriously press-adverse Loomis was content to remain unheralded – the technology he developed was said to have won the war, while the atomic bomb merely ended it.