Seventy Years of Radio Science, Technology, Standards, and Measurement at the National Bureau of Standards



This large volume describes all the forms of radio research done at the National Bureau of Standards (now, National Institute of Standards and Technology) from its founding in 1901 until about 1980. The volume truly reflects its subtitle; it describes in great detail research in radio propagation and all its connections with geophysics and geospace, but also radio as instrument for discovery and application in meteorology, navigation, and in standards of measurement and testing in electronics.

The book is a bit unwieldy and some of its chapters will be of most interest to former NBS employees. For example, there is a lengthy chapter on the transfer of radio research work from Washington, D.C, to Boulder, Colo., in the early 1950s, complete with photostat of the quit claim deed to NBS from the Boulder Chamber of Commerce. On the other hand, radio research developed and flourished in this country in the early days at industrial (Bell Telephone, General Electric, Westinghouse) and government (NBS, Naval Research Laboratory) labs more than in academia, and it is very interesting to learn how the labs interacted and to read details of the organizational structure. I can attest personally to the great difficulties in locating materials concerning radio history. While we have numerous volumes devoted to certain popular radio heroes, little is available concerning government radio pioneers such as L. W. Austin, who directed the U.S. Navy's radio research for many years while situated physically at the Bureau of Standards, or J. H. Dellinger, long-time chief of the Radio Section and head spokesman on radio for the U.S. government until the 1930s.