Friday, June 26, 2009

Hitler's army created Operations Research proof bombers?

(Photograph by Linda Reynolds/Flying Wing Films)

Those that study the history of Operations Research know that a lot of its genesis came from World War II. British experts used mathematical principles to identify the optimal places to locate the new radar technology to identify incoming enemy aircraft. A lot of the credit can go to the work at Bawdsey Research Station under the supervision of A. P. Rowe. A. P. Rowe's team analyzed and improved upon how the radar would track targets and setup optimal conditions for the radar activities. An excellent article on the work of the World War II researchers can be found at Wikipedia.

Yet Hitler's Nazi army was developing a secret "stealth" plane that fortunately never took flight. Scientists at Northrop Gruman have recreated the Horten 2-29 at their facilities. Surprisingly they discovered that using legacy World War II radar equipment that it did indeed would be radar resistant. Perhaps if the Nazi army had a fleet of these planes Operations Research would not be where it is today? Thank goodness to the efforts of A. P. Rowe and other leading mathematicians that they were able to institute foundations in Operations Research. Another reason to thank the founding fathers of modern day Operations Research.

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