Edison vs. Westinghouse I

Lead: One of the great struggles in the history of technology was that between Thomas Alva Edison and George Westinghouse.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The use of electricity as a means of lighting homes, businesses and streets was in its infancy in the early 1880s. Thomas Edison had improved the incandescent light bulb and was hard at work constructing the power system for the City of New York. To get the power from generating power plants out to the customers, he used direct current which can be compared to a water flowing in a pipe. Power goes in one direction at a constantly low voltage over wiring that was very expensive so as to not blow out the light bulbs waiting for power down the circuit.

High Octane/High Test Gasoline

Lead: In the 1930s, oil companies were struggling to boost the octane of gasoline. Eugène Houdry’s catalytic cracking process made it possible and may have helped win World War II.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When it comes from the ground, crude oil is almost useless, a mixture of thousands of different types of hydrocarbons: asphalt to gasoline to natural gas. Each has a different molecular weight, therefore, crude oil must be refined to pull out the impurities such as sulfur compounds and separate different components such as kerosene, gasoline, fuel oil, and so forth.

Atomic Dawn III (Nuclear Age)

Lead: With the first sustained nuclear reaction in December, 1942, the Roosevelt Administration decided to harvest the energy of the atom by creating a weapon so powerful that it might possibly bring an end to World War II.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The executive director of the Manhattan Engineer District, the project to build the bomb, was Brigadier General Leslie Groves. He in turn chose J. Robert Oppenheimer, Professor of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley who assembled the team that solved the theoretical and scientific problems associated with the bomb. Groves also selected a naval ordinance officer, Captain William S. "Deak" Parsons to tackle the construction and delivery of the weapon.

 

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Atomic Dawn I (Nuclear Age)

Lead: The road to Hiroshima began in earnest not on Tinian or in Los Alamos or Chicago or Princeton, but in pre-war Nazi Berlin.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By the mid-1930s scientists had determined that the nucleus of the atom was not a single unit of matter but was made up of protons and neutrons. Neutrons, because they have no electrical charge were being used to explore the nature of the atomic nucleus. The Italian physicist Enrico Fermi began bombarding various elements with neutrons in 1934 and had concluded that relatively moderate changes could be made in the nucleus of one substance if hit with streams of neutrons from another.

 

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