Modern Meterology


When did radar finally catch on, and who gets the credit?

In 1935—over three decades after Hülsmeyer first proposed the idea—radar technology came into its own through the work of British scientist Robert Watson-Watt (1892–1973), along with H.E. Wimperis (1876–1960), Henry Tizard (1885–1959), and A.F. Wilkins. Working for the British government, Watson-Watt was given the assignment of investigating whether Germany’s Adolf Hitler could carry out a threat of creating a weapon using radio waves. Watson-Watt knew this was an impossibility, but he saw another potential use. Using shortwave radio transmitters from the British Broadcasting Corporation, he and his colleagues created the first practical radar technology. Radar was used to detect attacking German airplanes during World War II, and was credited with swaying the 1940 Battle of Britain in England’s favor.


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