About M. W. P. Strandberg ...

Narrative Biography


I graduated with an S. B., summa cum laude, from Harvard College in June 1941. I had been elected to Phi Beta Kappa at the beginning of my senior year as one of the Senior Sixteen.

I immediately started work at the Radiation Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I was assigned to a group doing advance development work on radar systems, at that time, 3-cm radar. That summer I invented the wave guide squeeze, or Delta b, electrical phase shifter to be used to simplify the transmit-receive matching problem. This principle was also used to make it possible to scan the high resolution Eagle airborne radar antenna, and the blind landing ground control approach, GCA, elevation antenna.

I went to the United Kingdom in November 1942 to work on radar countermeasures for the Royal Air Force. In the course of developing an automatic-searching radar jammer, I invented an infinite resolution radio receiver for use in the automatic radar carrier search receiver of the jammer. This principle was known as the Strandberg circuit, and it was used for a variety of purposes, ultimately in automatic tuning automobile radios. The RAF CarpetII which I designed was used most spectacularly on diversionary landing craft during the Allied invasion of Europe in WWII.
I returned to the United States in September 1943 to work as a project engineer on radar r.f. heads. I introduced linear feedback automatic frequency control circuits to this technology. The radar system using my r.f. head at 1.25 cm wavelength was a tactical failure because of atmospheric absorption, which was eventually traced to the absorption of the radio waves by the water vapor in the air. An r.f. head for 3cm wavelength which was frequency tunable, to avoid jamming, was demonstrated as practical. It was made possible by my automatic frequency control and the use of short transmitter pulses.

At the end of the war I started research in microwave spectroscopy. The thrust of this work was to make the measurements quantitative and the theory analytically compatible with the accuracy of the measurements. Early work, for example, in collaboration with others, explained the ammonia absorption fine structure as arising from the nitrogen nuclear quadrupole moment. The essential results of the entirety of this research were described in a book titled "Microwave Spectroscopy" which was published in 1954 This book was translated into Russian, and its wide use in both the English and Russian versions has brought me many of the foreign friends that I have today.
In the years 1954-1956 I worked on understanding and making quantitative the basis for the usefulness of solid state quantum mechanical amplifiers. This was a publicly held interest on my part, so I claim some credit for the eventual recognition of the usefulness and the practical realization of solid state microwave quantum mechanical amplifiers, or solid state masers. My published work, contributions to theory of the noise properties of masers and to the the6ry of the limitations of their amplifying properties were seminal.

At this time and later I worked on the rationalization and development of stable frequency and time sources. The first phase stabilization of sources in the microwave region was one of the results of this work.
In the years from 1945 on I also served as a consultant to the United States Department of Defense, its laboratories and its contractors. This work was classified, but it can be said that it involved the elucidation of the physical bases of defense systems, and their efficient realization.

I was also retained by companies to do work for their private concerns. This work was essentially that of studying the physical bases for possible solutions to their problems. Typical work areas were on security of pay television systems, oil well physical surveying, and oil refinery process control.

In 1954, in collaboration with another man, I started a microwave instrument company, Strand Labs, Inc. This company set a standard for frequency stable microwave sources, and for microwave research instruments. In particular, its microwave bridge for electron paramagnetic resonance measurements was the basic two-arm bridge circuit with circulator which has become the standard arrangement even in the newer Varian systems. The company continued in business until the Fall of 1967 when it was sold. Changes in ownership and management and in business climate gradually caused its demise.
Several theoretical studies stand out in the publications from 1957 on. One is on the theory of spin-lattice relaxation, another is an application of the statistical theory of line shapes to paramagnetic resonance line shape. The paper deriving the spin hamiltonian has beauty and usefulness. The derivation of the equations governing bottle-neck effects in spin-lattice relaxation is basic. A paper on correlation time narrowing of NMR and ESR lines in surroundings with less than isotropic symmetry, and recent papers on the mathematical properties of line shapes, and on the effect of strong r.f. fields on line shapes complete the set of papers devoted to the theory of magnetic resonance line shapes, spectra, and relaxation effects.

Work particularly directed to a study of the physics of biomatter has been carried out during the last ten years. From 1966 to 1968 my interest was directed to trying to identify the charge carrier responsible for electric conduction in protein molecules, particularly cytochrome c. This work was in collaboration with Freeman Cope of the U.S.Naval Development Center, Johnsville PA.
In 1969, 1970 I studied the possible use of nuclear magnetic resonance as a tool to characterize thrombogenic surfaces. This work was in collaboration with Dr. E. Salzinan of Beth Israel Hospital, Boston MA.

From 1971 to the present I have been studying the physics of electrical processes in membranes, noise in active trans-port current, the contribution of the active transport current to the apparent membrane impedance, a physical model of the nerve action potential, and a thermodynamic analysis of oxygen-heme protein binding. Because of certain realities of research funding this work has had to be a leisure time activity, but recently some support has been obtained.
My age is outside to range 30-45 years, but I have applied for a fellowship since I feel that what I propose to do must be done by a man mature in professional physics, and with a nearly full career already achieved. Such a man can afford to bring to bear the professional imperatives of one scientific discipline in which he has a sense of achievement to another discipline in which he has no professional involvement, but still a demonstrated intense interest. A man mid-way in a career simply can not survive unless he becomes totally involved in the obsessions of one discipline or the other. I have spent ten years "moonlighting" in thinking about the applications of physics to biomatter, while supporting my work with the obsessions of solid state physics. It is difficult to be a mature professional in one discipline, an intelligently knowledgeable person in a second, and a young person all at the same time.

My "M1T" biography is appended.


 

Links


Narrative Biography: Top ...
Candlelight Lunch ...
MWPS Publications ...
MWPS Partial List of Lectures ...
MWPS Patents ...
Media Items ...
MWPS Current Activities ...
MWPS Home Page: Top ...
MWPS 1937 KT MIT or...
Analogue Arithmetic or...

Number of queries to this page:

Please note that this counter is reset frequently.

Malcom W. P. Strandberg
1998-05-13