Jennet Conant's biography of Alfred Loomis is fascinating.
Loomis was an interesting character. He was a physicist, founding a Physics lab in the hoity-toity community of Tuxedo Park, NY. When WWII started, he was one of the driving forces behind the Rad lab, where they developed American RADAR. I had already read about the Tizard mission, in which British scientists who came to the USA with a box full of wonders, including the cavity magnetron. Where, exactly, did they bring it? They revealed the cavity magnetron to the USA in Loomis' sitting room.
Loomis' life (and thus this book) had something for everyone: physics, physicists, war, mystery stories, private laboratories, government laboratories, high finance, an America's Cup racing yacht, RADAR, the Manhattan project, and an unlivable house designed by an architect.
Loomis made a lot of money as an biz guy before he retired to do what he loved: work on tech stuff with a bunch of geeks. I'm hoping that many of my recently-rich co-workers take Loomis' advice to heart: just because you have enough money to stop tinkering and hanging out with geeks doesn't mean that you should. Hacking is still more fun than your other choices.
Labels: book, mad science