Category Archives: History of Science and Technology

Spy Camera Math

Introduction I just listened to a very interesting interview of Philip Pressel, a retired Perkin-Elmer mechanical engineer and satellite surveillance camera designer. The interview was conducted by Vince Houghton of the International Spy Museum. Philip discussed how the recently declassified … Continue reading

 
Posted in History of Science and Technology, optics | 3 Comments

Old School Spacecraft Thermal Insulation

Quote of the Day Everything not forbidden is compulsory. — T.H. White, The Book of Merlin. I have heard people make similar statements about quantum mechanics, particle physics, and cosmology. Introduction I saw this article about a solar probe called … Continue reading

 
Posted in Astronomy, History of Science and Technology | 1 Comment

Excellent Video on Breaking the Japanese JN-25 Code During WW2

Those of you World War 2 history buffs may find this video lecture on the breaking of the Japanese naval codes. I have read a number of books on the topic, but I did not know that so much work … Continue reading

 
Posted in History of Science and Technology, Military History | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Problem Solved in Excel and Mathcad

I use both Excel and Mathcad in my daily work. Most people would consider me very proficient in both. I frequently get asked, "Which tool is better?" Like all other interesting questions in Engineering, the answer is "it depends".

As an example, I decided to work a simple problem in both Excel and Mathcad. A number of the advantages and disadvantages of both tools can be seen in this example. The key problem with Excel is its cell-oriented approach. While the cell-oriented approach works for small problems, it has major issue with large problem Continue reading

 
Posted in Ballistics, History of Science and Technology, Military History, Naval History | 2 Comments

Fire Control Formulas from World War 1

Quote of the Day When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag carrying the Cross. — Sinclair Lewis Introduction I am reading the book "Dreadnought Gunnery and the Battle of Jutland: The Question of Fire Control". … Continue reading

 
Posted in Ballistics, History of Science and Technology, Military History | 10 Comments

World War 2 Industrial Casualties

I like to watch authors discuss their history books on BookTV. I listen to BookTV while I work around the house. One weekend, I heard two historians (I did not write down their names) discussing World War 2 and each mentioned a statistic that sounded something like this (my wording). Continue reading

 
Posted in History of Science and Technology, History Through Spreadsheets, Military History | 21 Comments

The Drinking History of the US

I have been reading "A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico" and I notice a common theme with other history books about the early US --drinking alcohol was a major preoccupation with early Americans. … Continue reading

 
Posted in History of Science and Technology, Osseo, Personal | 3 Comments

Geothermal Power Math

One concept that intrigues me is the idea that the Earth would be warm underground even without the Sun present. See the Wikipedia for an interesting discussion of this topic. My favorite science fiction story is After Worlds Collide, which is tale that includes a rogue planet called Bronson Beta. This rogue planet survived a very long trip through the bitter cold of interstellar space. Its former inhabitants had built deep underground tunnels that provided a warm sanctuary for travelers from Earth. Continue reading

 
Posted in Geology, History of Science and Technology | 1 Comment

Aiming Torpedoes from a PT Boat

I read quite a bit of World War 1 (WW1) and World War 2 (WW2) naval history. Recently, I have tried to specialize my readings on torpedo launch platforms. One area where I have never seen much information is on how torpedoes were used from PT boats during WW2. I am particularly interested in how torpedoes were aimed and launched. While doing some history-related searches on Youtube, I discovered this video that does an excellent job of showing how torpedoes were launched from PT boats. Continue reading

 
Posted in Ballistics, History of Science and Technology, Military History, Naval History | 21 Comments

Too Many Definitions of Candle

I have been doing some reading about photometry lately and I noticed that the unit of lighting called the candle has had quite a history. I used to work for a metrology company and I have always been interested in … Continue reading

 
Posted in General Science, History of Science and Technology | 2 Comments