Thompson, Thomas W.
About the author: Thomas W. Thompson holds a PhD in Modern British History from Miami University of Ohio and has studied the History of Science at Cornell University. He became Rome Laboratory (now Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome Research Site) historian in 1982. Dr. Thompson is an Air Force and Vietnam War veteran, having served as a radar weapons controller from 1967 until 1971.2003 0-7734-6538-3
This work provides information previously unavailable to the wider scholarly community: the role of the US Air Force in advancing information and electronics technology. The Air Force established a far-reaching research effort upon becoming a separate service in 1947 and maintains it today. Rome Laboratory, established in 1951, became the Air Force’s primary ground electronics laboratory. Relying on previously classified as well as documentation in the public sphere, this work details Air Force involvement in the development of radio, radar, communications satellites, computers, solid state devices, and photonics. The Cold War serves as backdrop until the last chapter, when attention shifts to more contemporary activities. Each chapter examines an Air Force mission, the technologies employed to accomplish it, and Rome Laboratory’s role. Originality and unique documentation make this work a must-read for those interested in the history of science and technology, Air Force and Department of Defense roles in the information revolution, military history, Cold War history, and the social and economic impact of Air Force R&D on the communities of central New York.