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Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II

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Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II Cover

ISBN13: 9780684872889
ISBN10: 0684872889
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The untold story of an eccentric Wall Street tycoon and the circle of scientific geniuses he assembled before World War II to develop the science for radar and the atomic bomb. Together they changed the course of history.

Legendary financier, philanthropist, and society figure Alfred Lee Loomis gathered the most visionary scientific minds of the twentieth century — Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, Enrico Fermi, and others — at his state-of-the-art laboratory in Tuxedo Park, New York, in the late 1930s. He established a top-secret defense laboratory at MIT and personally bankrolled pioneering research into new, high-powered radar detection systems that helped defeat the German Air Force and U-boats. With Ernest Lawrence, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, he pushed Franklin Delano Roosevelt to fund research in nuclear fission, which led to the development of the atomic bomb.

Jennet Conant, the granddaughter of James Bryant Conant, one of the leading scientific advisers of World War II, enjoyed unprecedented access to Loomis' papers, as well as to people intimately involved in his life and work. She pierces through Loomis' obsessive secrecy and illuminates his role in assuring the Allied victory.

Review:

"Understanding just how America wins wars is a pressing task these days, which makes the story of Alfred Loomis especially timely — and instructive....[His] remarkable story is being told now only thanks to Ms. Conant, a journalist who combines a graceful writing style with her own family connections to his secretive life. The Wall Street Journal

Review:

"Jennet Conant's Tuxedo Park illuminates an important but little-known chapter in American science, and does it with a deft, knowing touch that brings it to life." Timothy Ferris

Review:

"The story of how radar made its passage from the drawing board into the cockpits of Allied fighter planes is incredibly dramatic, and Jennet Conant tells it uncommonly well." The Washington Post Book World

Review:

"Remarkable...the story of a genuinely extraordinary man [told] uncommonly well." Jonathan Yardley

Review:

"A brilliant account of the all but vanished reputation of an amateur physicist who became a friend and peer of the greatest scientists of his time." Kurt Vonnegut

Synopsis:

A legendary financier, philanthropist, and society figure, Alfred Loomis retired at the height of his Wall Street career in the late 1930s to devote himself to science. He gathered the most visionary minds — including Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, Enrico Fermi, and other world-famous scientists — of the twentieth century at his state-of-the-art laboratory in Tuxedo Park, New York, where they worked on developing radar and laid the groundwork for the atomic bomb. As the war escalated, he convinced FDR to fund the advanced radar system that helped defeat the German Air Force and U-boats — and to build the atomic bomb.

Jennet Richards Conant, the granddaughter of James Bryant Conant, one of Loomis's scientists, enjoyed unprecedented access to Loomis's papers, as well as to people intimately involved in his life and work. In Tuxedo Park, she pierces through Loomis's obsessive secrecy and illuminates at last his seminal role in assuring the Allied victory in World War II.

Synopsis:

In this account of an unexplored but crucial story of World War II, Conant traces one of the world's most extraordinary careers and scientific enterprises. Alfred Lee Loomis turned his Tuxedo Park laboratory into the meeting place for the most visionary minds of the 20th century.

Synopsis:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [303]-309) and index.

About the Author

Jennet Conant has written profiles for Vanity Vair, Esquire, GQ, Newsweek, and The New York Times. She lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.

Table of Contents

Contents

MAP OF TUXEDO PARK

PREFACE

1 THE PATRON

2 BRED IN THE BONE

3 THE POWER BROKER

4 PALACE OF SCIENCE

5 CASH ON THE BARREL

6 RESTLESS ENERGY

7 THE BIG MACHINE

8 ECHOES OF WAR

9 PRECIOUS CARGO

10 THE BLITZ

11 MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

12 LAST OF THE GREAT AMATEURS

Epilogue

Alfred L. Loomis' Scientific Publications

Author's Note on Sources

Acknowledgments

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Pseudoknot, November 13, 2014 (view all comments by Pseudoknot)
The story told in this book sounds implausible: a brilliant Wall Street tycoon indulges a hobby of physics, conducting original studies of his own while befriending many of the major scientists of his day, and in the early days of World War II works behind the scenes to create an enormous laboratory at MIT which develops essentially all of the radar devices that gave America an edge over German forces- and then is dissolved at the end of the war.

But the story is entirely true. Jennet Conant, a respected journalist and author whose family had tangential connections with Alfred Loomis, has put together interviews and extensive research to write an engrossing biography of this unusual person. Loomis made a fortune with his innovations in investment banking- his firm financed much of the expansion of the power grid in the 1920s- and presciently converted his holdings to cash before the crash. During that time he led a double life as a respected scientist, refurbishing Tower House in the exclusive gated community of Tuxedo Park as a well-equipped physics laboratory and meeting place for the famous and not yet famous scientists of the day. In 1933 he walked away from finance to devote himself full time to physics.

The centerpiece of Loomis' story is perhaps the Rad Lab, the secret R&D laboratory at MIT responsible for developing all of the radar instrumentation used by American forces in World War II. Loomis was chair of the government committee charged with radar development; he tirelessly worked behind the scenes to cut through competing academic and industrial interests, government red tape, and the inertia of the armed forces towards new technology, develop innovative technology and deliver it to battlefronts in extraordinarily short time. At the end of the war Loomis insisted that the lab be shut down, and he returned to Tuxedo Park, never seeking personal recognition. But there is much else to Loomis' accomplishments and idiosyncrasies, and many other reasons to pick up this book: glimpses of Wall Street before the crash, the changing character of science between the wars, the life of a tycoon who bought his own island (Hilton Head) long before Larry Ellison got the idea. Conant recreates the period and the life of this extraordinary man in a lively way. Highly recommended.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780684872889
Subtitle:
A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II
Author:
Conant, Jennet
Author:
Conant, Jennet Richards
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Location:
New York
Subject:
Science
Subject:
World war, 1939-1945
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
Research
Subject:
Physicists
Subject:
Military - Nuclear Warfare
Subject:
Rich & Famous
Subject:
Science & Technology
Subject:
United States - 20th Century/WWII
Subject:
Atomic bomb
Subject:
Scientists - General
Subject:
Physicists -- United States.
Subject:
Atomic bomb -- United States -- History.
Subject:
Biography-Scientists
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B102
Series Volume:
122
Publication Date:
May 2003
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 11.13 oz

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Related Subjects

Biography » Business
Biography » Rich and Famous
Biography » Science and Technology
History and Social Science » Military » Weapons » General
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Biographies and Classics
Science and Mathematics » Physics » General

Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780684872889 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Understanding just how America wins wars is a pressing task these days, which makes the story of Alfred Loomis especially timely — and instructive....[His] remarkable story is being told now only thanks to Ms. Conant, a journalist who combines a graceful writing style with her own family connections to his secretive life.
"Review" by , "Jennet Conant's Tuxedo Park illuminates an important but little-known chapter in American science, and does it with a deft, knowing touch that brings it to life."
"Review" by , "The story of how radar made its passage from the drawing board into the cockpits of Allied fighter planes is incredibly dramatic, and Jennet Conant tells it uncommonly well."
"Review" by , "Remarkable...the story of a genuinely extraordinary man [told] uncommonly well."
"Review" by , "A brilliant account of the all but vanished reputation of an amateur physicist who became a friend and peer of the greatest scientists of his time."
"Synopsis" by , A legendary financier, philanthropist, and society figure, Alfred Loomis retired at the height of his Wall Street career in the late 1930s to devote himself to science. He gathered the most visionary minds — including Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, Enrico Fermi, and other world-famous scientists — of the twentieth century at his state-of-the-art laboratory in Tuxedo Park, New York, where they worked on developing radar and laid the groundwork for the atomic bomb. As the war escalated, he convinced FDR to fund the advanced radar system that helped defeat the German Air Force and U-boats — and to build the atomic bomb.

Jennet Richards Conant, the granddaughter of James Bryant Conant, one of Loomis's scientists, enjoyed unprecedented access to Loomis's papers, as well as to people intimately involved in his life and work. In Tuxedo Park, she pierces through Loomis's obsessive secrecy and illuminates at last his seminal role in assuring the Allied victory in World War II.

"Synopsis" by , In this account of an unexplored but crucial story of World War II, Conant traces one of the world's most extraordinary careers and scientific enterprises. Alfred Lee Loomis turned his Tuxedo Park laboratory into the meeting place for the most visionary minds of the 20th century.
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. [303]-309) and index.
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