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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Science Matters- Concorde

Lead:  For twenty-seven years after 1976, the sleek, elegant Concorde, history’s fastest commercial airliner, carried transatlantic passengers in comfort and luxury seeking a market that never materialized.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the early 1960s aircraft manufacturers in Great Britain and France, encouraged by their governments, began developing a supersonic passenger plane. Based on mid-century technology, the graceful Concorde, with its delta wing shape and unique movable nose, made its maiden transatlantic voyage in 1969 and entered regular commercial service in 1976 as a part of British Airways and Air France. Flights between London and Paris, New York and Washington became the most common of Concorde’s routes although the bird was taken on occasional flights to South America and East Asia. Fourteen Concorde airliners were built and flown between 1976 and 2003.

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Commando Raid in Norway – Part II

Lead: In the early 1940s it became clear that it was possible to construct a nuclear bomb. While proceeding with their own atomic research, the allies set-out to destroy German efforts to build the bomb.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Essential to the construction of a nuclear device was a sustained and controlled atomic reaction. To obtain that the Germans relied on the use of heavy water to moderate the progress of the reaction. Heavy water, a substance extracted from ordinary water at great cost was made in sufficient quantities in only one place, the Norsk Hydrogen Electrolysis plant at Vemork, Norway. Soon after Germany occupied Norway in 1940, the allied command began making plans to take out that that plant. At first high altitude bombing was rejected since it would was sure to cause numerous casualties among Norwegian civilians.

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Commando Raid in Norway – III

                Lead:  To stop the Germans from developing an atomic bomb, the allied command in World War II determined to destroy the Norwegian plant that produced heavy water, a substance essential to nuclear research.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Norsk Hydro factory near the town of Vemork was located high on one side of a valley surrounded by minefields and treacherous cliffs. Aerial bombing was considered too dangerous. Local Norwegians still worked there for the Germans who occupied the country in 1940.

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Commando Raid in Norway – Part I

Lead: One of the great fears of the Allied leadership during World War II was that Germany might build the first atomic bomb.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Germans were among the pioneers in nuclear research. A team under Otto Hahn at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry in Dahlem, a suburb of Berlin, in December, 1938, succeeded in splitting the uranium atom. After his results had been confirmed, it took only a short leap of imagination for scientists to realize the potential for creating a weapon of terrible power. German scientists. British scientists. American scientists.

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