Cavity magnetron

The cavity magnetron is a high-powered vacuum tube that generates microwaves using the interaction of a stream of electrons with a magnetic field while moving past a series of open metal cavities (cavity resonators). Electrons pass by the openings to these cavities and cause radio waves to oscillate within, similar to the way a whistle produces a tone when excited by an air stream blown past its opening. The frequency of the microwaves produced, the resonant frequency, is determined by the cavities' physical dimensions. Unlike other vacuum tubes such as a klystron or a traveling-wave tube (TWT), the magnetron cannot function as an amplifier in order to increase the intensity of an applied microwave signal; the magnetron serves solely as an oscillator, generating a microwave signal from direct current electricity supplied to the vacuum tube.

An early form of magnetron was invented by H. Gerdien in 1910.[1] Another form of magnetron tube, the split-anode magnetron, was invented by Albert Hull of General Electric Research Laboratory in 1920, but it achieved only a frequency of 30 kHz.[2] Similar devices were experimented with by many teams through the 1920s and 1930s. Hans Erich Hollmann filed a patent on a design similar to the modern tube in 1935,[3] but the more stable klystron was preferred for most German radars during World War II. An important advance was the multi-cavity magnetron, first proposed in 1934 by A. L. Samuel of Bell Telephone Laboratories. However, the first truly successful example was developed by Aleksereff and Malearoff in Russia in 1936, which achieved 300 watts at 3 GHz (10 cm wavelength).[2]

The cavity magnetron was radically improved by John Randall and Harry Boot in 1940 at the University of Birmingham, England.[4] They invented a valve that could produce multi-kilowatt pulses at 10 cm wavelength, an unprecedented discovery.[5] The high power of pulses from their device made centimeter-band radar practical for the Allies of World War II, with shorter wavelength radars allowing detection of smaller objects from smaller antennas. The compact cavity magnetron tube drastically reduced the size of radar sets[6] so that they could be more easily installed in night-fighter aircraft, anti-submarine aircraft[7] and escort ships.[6]

At the same time, Yoji Ito in Japan was experimenting with magnetrons, and proposed a system of collision avoidance using FM. Only low power was achieved. Ito then traveled to Germany, where he had earlier received his doctorate, and found the Germans were using pulse modulation at VHF with great success. When he returned to Japan, he produced a prototype pulse magnetron with 2 kW in October 1941. This was then widely deployed.[8]

In the post-war era the magnetron became less widely used in the radar role. This was because the magnetron's output changes from pulse to pulse, both in frequency and phase. This makes the signal unsuitable for pulse-to-pulse comparisons, which is widely used for detecting and removing "clutter" from the radar display.[9] The magnetron remains in use in some radars, but has become much more common as a low-cost microwave source for microwave ovens. In this form, approximately one billion magnetrons are in use today.[9][10]

Magnetron with section removed to exhibit the cavities. The cathode in the center is not visible. The waveguide emitting microwaves is at the left. The magnet producing a field parallel to the long axis of the device is not shown.
Magnetron section transverse to axis
A similar magnetron with a different section removed. Central cathode is visible; antenna conducting microwaves at the top; magnet is not shown.
Magnetron MI-189W
Obsolete 9 GHz magnetron tube and magnets from a Soviet aircraft radar. The tube is embraced between the poles of two horseshoe-shaped alnico magnets (top, bottom), which create a magnetic field along the axis of the tube. The microwaves are emitted from the waveguide aperture (top) which in use is attached to a waveguide conducting the microwaves to the radar antenna. Modern tubes use rare earth magnets which are much less bulky.

Construction and operation

Conventional tube design

In a conventional electron tube (vacuum tube), electrons are emitted from a negatively charged, heated component called the cathode and are attracted to a positively charged component called the anode. The components are normally arranged concentrically, placed within a tubular-shaped container from which all air has been evacuated, so that the electrons can move freely (hence the name "vacuum" tubes, called "valves" by the British).

If a third electrode is inserted between the cathode and the anode (called a control grid), the flow of electrons between the cathode and anode can be regulated by varying the voltage on this third electrode. This allows the resulting electron tube (called a "triode" because it now has three electrodes) to function as an amplifier because small variations in the electric charge applied to the control grid will result in identical variations in the much larger current of electrons flowing between the cathode and anode.[11]

Hull or single-anode magnetron

The idea of using a grid for control was patented by Lee de Forest, resulting in considerable research into alternate tube designs that would avoid his patents. One concept used a magnetic field instead of an electrical charge to control current flow, leading to the development of the magnetron tube. In this design, the tube was made with two electrodes, typically with the cathode in the form of a metal rod in the center, and the anode as a cylinder around it. The tube was placed between the poles of a horseshoe magnet[12] arranged such that the magnetic field was aligned parallel to the axis of the electrodes.

With no magnetic field present, the tube operates as a diode, with electrons flowing directly from the cathode to the anode. In the presence of the magnetic field, the electrons will experience a force at right angles to their direction of motion, according to the left-hand rule. In this case, the electrons follow a curved path between the cathode and anode. The curvature of the path can be controlled by varying either the magnetic field, using an electromagnet, or by changing the electrical potential between the electrodes.

At very high magnetic field settings the electrons are forced back onto the cathode, preventing current flow. At the opposite extreme, with no field, the electrons are free to flow straight from the cathode to the anode. There is a point between the two extremes, the critical value or Hull cut-off magnetic field (and cut-off voltage), where the electrons just reach the anode. At fields around this point, the device operates similar to a triode. However, magnetic control, due to hysteresis and other effects, results in a slower and less faithful response to control current than electrostatic control using a control grid in a conventional triode (not to mention greater weight and complexity), so magnetrons saw limited use in conventional electronic designs.[12]

It was noticed that when the magnetron was operating at the critical value, it would emit energy in the radio frequency spectrum.[12] This occurs because a few of the electrons, instead of reaching the anode, continue to circle in the space between the cathode and the anode. Due to an effect now known as cyclotron radiation, these electrons radiate radio frequency energy. The effect is not very efficient. Eventually the electrons hit one of the electrodes, so the number in the circulating state at any given time is a small percentage of the overall current. It was also noticed that the frequency of the radiation depends on the size of the tube, and even early examples were built that produced signals in the microwave region.

Early conventional tube systems were limited to the high frequency bands, and although very high frequency systems became widely available in the late 1930s, the ultra high frequency and microwave regions were well beyond the ability of conventional circuits. The magnetron was one of the few devices able to generate signals in the microwave band and it was the only one that was able to produce high power at centimeter wavelengths.

Split-anode magnetron

Split-anode magnetron
Split-anode magnetron from 1935. (left) The bare tube, about 11 cm high. (right) Installed for use between the poles of a strong permanent magnet

The original magnetron was very difficult to keep operating at the critical value, and even then the number of electrons in the circling state at any time was fairly low. This meant that it produced very low-power signals. Nevertheless, as one of the few devices known to create microwaves, interest in the device and potential improvements was widespread.

The first major improvement was the split-anode magnetron, also known as a negative-resistance magnetron. As the name implies, this design used an anode that was split in two—one at each end of the tube—creating two half-cylinders. When both were charged to the same voltage the system worked like the original model. But by slightly altering the voltage of the two plates, the electron's trajectory could be modified so that they would naturally travel towards the lower voltage side. The plates were connected to an oscillator that reversed the relative voltage of the two plates at a given frequency.[12]

At any given instant, the electron will naturally be pushed towards the lower-voltage side of the tube. The electron will then oscillate back and forth as the voltage changes. At the same time, a strong magnetic field is applied, stronger than the critical value in the original design. This would normally cause the electron to circle back to the cathode, but due to the oscillating electrical field, the electron instead follows a looping path that continues toward the anodes.[12]

Since all of the electrons in the flow experienced this looping motion, the amount of RF energy being radiated was greatly improved. And as the motion occurred at any field level beyond the critical value, it was no longer necessary to carefully tune the fields and voltages, and the overall stability of the device was greatly improved. Unfortunately, the higher field also meant that electrons often circled back to the cathode, depositing their energy on it and causing it to heat up. As this normally causes more electrons to be released, it could sometimes lead to a runaway effect, damaging the device.[12]

Cavity magnetron

The great advance in magnetron design was the resonant cavity magnetron or electron-resonance magnetron, which works on entirely different principles. In this design the oscillation is created by the physical shaping of the anode, rather than external circuits or fields.

Resonant Cavity Magnetron Diagram
A cross-sectional diagram of a resonant cavity magnetron. Magnetic lines of force are parallel to the geometric axis of this structure.

Mechanically, the cavity magnetron consists of a large, solid cylinder of metal with a hole drilled through the center of the circular face. A wire acting as the cathode is run down the center of this hole, and the metal block itself forms the anode. Around this hole, known as the "interaction space", are a number of similar holes ("resonators") drilled parallel to the interaction space, separated only a very short distance away. A small slot is cut between the interaction space and each of these resonators. The resulting block looks something like the cylinder on a revolver, with a somewhat larger central hole. (Early models were actually cut using Colt pistol jigs.) The parallel sides of the slots act as a capacitor while the anode block itself provides an inductor analog. Thus, each cavity forms its own resonant circuit, the frequency of which is defined by the energy of the electrons and the physical dimensions of the cavity.[12]

The magnetic field is set to a value well below the critical, so the electrons follow arcing paths towards the anode. When they strike the anode, they cause it to become negatively charged in that region. As this process is random, some areas will become more or less charged than the areas around them. The anode is constructed of a highly conductive material, almost always copper, so these differences in voltage cause currents to appear to even them out. Since the current has to flow around the outside of the cavity, this process takes time. During that time additional electrons will avoid the hot spots and be deposited further along the anode, as the additional current flowing around it arrives too. This causes an oscillating current to form as the current tries to equalize one spot, then another.[13]

The oscillating currents flowing around the cavities, and their effect on the electron flow within the tube, causes large amounts of microwave radiofrequency energy to be generated in the cavities. The cavities are open on one end, so the entire mechanism forms a single, larger, microwave oscillator. A "tap", normally a wire formed into a loop, extracts microwave energy from one of the cavities. In some systems the tap wire is replaced by an open hole, which allows the microwaves to flow into a waveguide.

As the oscillation takes some time to set up, and is inherently random at the start, subsequent startups will have different output parameters. Phase is almost never preserved, which makes the magnetron difficult to use in phased array systems. Frequency also drifts from pulse to pulse, a more difficult problem for a wider array of radar systems. Neither of these present a problem for continuous-wave radars, nor for microwave ovens.

Common features

Magnetron cutaway drawing
Cutaway drawing of a cavity magnetron from 1984. Part of the righthand magnet and copper anode block is cut away to show the cathode and cavities. This older magnetron uses two horseshoe shaped alnico magnets, modern tubes use rare earth magnets.

All cavity magnetrons consist of a heated cathode placed at a high (continuous or pulsed) negative potential created by a high-voltage, direct-current power supply. The cathode is placed in the center of an evacuated, lobed, circular chamber. A magnetic field parallel to the filament is imposed by a permanent magnet. The magnetic field causes the electrons, attracted to the (relatively) positive outer part of the chamber, to spiral outward in a circular path, a consequence of the Lorentz force. Spaced around the rim of the chamber are cylindrical cavities. Slots are cut along the length of the cavities that open into the central, common cavity space. As electrons sweep past these slots, they induce a high-frequency radio field in each resonant cavity, which in turn causes the electrons to bunch into groups. (This principle of cavity resonator is very similar to blowing a stream of air across the open top of a glass pop bottle.) A portion of the radio frequency energy is extracted by a short antenna that is connected to a waveguide (a metal tube, usually of rectangular cross section). The waveguide directs the extracted RF energy to the load, which may be a cooking chamber in a microwave oven or a high-gain antenna in the case of radar.

The sizes of the cavities determine the resonant frequency, and thereby the frequency of the emitted microwaves. However, the frequency is not precisely controllable. The operating frequency varies with changes in load impedance, with changes in the supply current, and with the temperature of the tube.[14] This is not a problem in uses such as heating, or in some forms of radar where the receiver can be synchronized with an imprecise magnetron frequency. Where precise frequencies are needed, other devices, such as the klystron are used.

The magnetron is a self-oscillating device requiring no external elements other than a power supply. A well-defined threshold anode voltage must be applied before oscillation will build up; this voltage is a function of the dimensions of the resonant cavity, and the applied magnetic field. In pulsed applications there is a delay of several cycles before the oscillator achieves full peak power, and the build-up of anode voltage must be coordinated with the build-up of oscillator output.[14]

Where there are an even number of cavities, two concentric rings can connect alternate cavity walls to prevent inefficient modes of oscillation. This is called pi-strapping because the two straps lock the phase difference between adjacent cavities at pi radians (180°).

The modern magnetron is a fairly efficient device. In a microwave oven, for instance, a 1.1-kilowatt input will generally create about 700 watts of microwave power, an efficiency of around 65%. (The high-voltage and the properties of the cathode determine the power of a magnetron.) Large S band magnetrons can produce up to 2.5 megawatts peak power with an average power of 3.75 kW.[14] Some large magnetrons are water cooled. The magnetron remains in widespread use in roles which require high power, but where precise control over frequency and phase is unimportant.



Magnetron radar assembly 1947
9.375 GHz 20 kW (peak) magnetron assembly for an early commercial airport radar in 1947. In addition to the magnetron (right), it contains a TR (transmit/receive) switch tube and the superheterodyne receiver front end, a 2K25 reflex klystron tube local oscillator and a 1N21 germanium diode mixer. The waveguide aperture (left) is connected to the waveguide going to the antenna.

In a radar set, the magnetron's waveguide is connected to an antenna. The magnetron is operated with very short pulses of applied voltage, resulting in a short pulse of high power microwave energy being radiated. As in all primary radar systems, the radiation reflected off a target is analyzed to produce a radar map on a screen.

Several characteristics of the magnetron's output make radar use of the device somewhat problematic. The first of these factors is the magnetron's inherent instability in its transmitter frequency. This instability results not only in frequency shifts from one pulse to the next, but also a frequency shift within an individual transmitted pulse. The second factor is that the energy of the transmitted pulse is spread over a relatively wide frequency spectrum, which requires the receiver to have a correspondingly wide bandwidth. This wide bandwidth allows ambient electrical noise to be accepted into the receiver, thus obscuring somewhat the weak radar echoes, thereby reducing overall receiver signal-to-noise ratio and thus performance. The third factor, depending on application, is the radiation hazard caused by the use of high power electromagnetic radiation. In some applications, for example a marine radar mounted on a recreational vessel, a radar with a magnetron output of 2 to 4 kilowatts is often found mounted very near an area occupied by crew or passengers. In practical use these factors have been overcome, or merely accepted, and there are today thousands of magnetron aviation and marine radar units in service. Recent advances in aviation weather avoidance radar and in marine radar have successfully replaced the magnetron with semiconductor microwave oscillators, which have a narrower output frequency range. These allow a narrower receiver bandwidth to be used, and the higher signal to noise ratio in turn allows a lower transmitter power, reducing exposure to EMR.


Magnetron from a microwave oven with magnet in its mounting box. The horizontal plates form a heat sink, cooled by airflow from a fan. The magnetic field is produced by two powerful ring magnets, the lower of which is just visible. Almost all modern oven magnetrons are of similar layout and appearance.

In microwave ovens, the waveguide leads to a radio frequency-transparent port into the cooking chamber. As the fixed dimensions of the chamber, and its physical closeness to the magnetron, would normally create standing wave patterns in the chamber, the pattern is randomized by a motorized fan-like stirrer in the waveguide (more often in commercial ovens), or by a turntable that rotates the food (most common in non-commercial ovens).


In microwave-excited lighting systems, such as a sulfur lamp, a magnetron provides the microwave field that is passed through a waveguide to the lighting cavity containing the light-emitting substance (e.g., sulfur, metal halides, etc.). Although efficient, these lamps are much more complex than other methods of lighting and therefore not commonly used. More modern variants use HEMTs or GaN-on-SiC power semiconductors to generate the microwaves, which are substantially less complex and can be adjusted to maximize light output using a PID system.


In 1910 Hans Gerdien of the Siemens corporation invented a magnetron.[15][16] In 1912, Swiss physicist Heinrich Greinacher was looking for new ways to calculate the electron mass. He settled on a system consisting of a diode with a cylindrical anode surrounding a rod-shaped cathode, placed in the middle of a magnet. The attempt to measure the electron mass failed because he was unable to achieve a good vacuum in the tube. However, as part of this work, Greinacher developed mathematical models of the motion of the electrons in the crossed magnetic and electric fields.[17][18]

In the US, Albert Hull put this work to use in an attempt to bypass Western Electric's patents on the triode. Western Electric had gained control of this design by buying Lee De Forest's patents on the control of current flow using electric fields via the "grid". Hull intended to use a variable magnetic field, instead of an electrostatic one, to control the flow of the electrons from the cathode to the anode. Working at General Electric's Research Laboratories in Schenectady, New York, Hull built tubes that provided switching through the control of the ratio of the magnetic and electric field strengths. He released several papers and patents on the concept in 1921.[19]

Hull's magnetron was not originally intended to generate VHF (very-high-frequency) electromagnetic waves. However, in 1924, Czech physicist August Žáček[20] (1886–1961) and German physicist Erich Habann[21] (1892–1968) independently discovered that the magnetron could generate waves of 100 megahertz to 1 gigahertz. Žáček, a professor at Prague's Charles University, published first; however, he published in a journal with a small circulation and thus attracted little attention.[22] Habann, a student at the University of Jena, investigated the magnetron for his doctoral dissertation of 1924.[23] Throughout the 1920s, Hull and other researchers around the world worked to develop the magnetron.[24][25][26] Most of these early magnetrons were glass vacuum tubes with multiple anodes. However, the two-pole magnetron, also known as a split-anode magnetron, had relatively low efficiency.

While radar was being developed during World War II, there arose an urgent need for a high-power microwave generator that worked at shorter wavelengths, around 10 cm (3 GHz), rather than the 50 to 150 cm (200 MHz) that was available from tube-based generators of the time. It was known that a multi-cavity resonant magnetron had been developed and patented in 1935 by Hans Hollmann in Berlin.[3] However, the German military considered the frequency drift of Hollman's device to be undesirable, and based their radar systems on the klystron instead. But klystrons could not at that time achieve the high power output that magnetrons eventually reached. This was one reason that German night fighter radars, which never strayed beyond the low-UHF band to start with for front-line aircraft, were not a match for their British counterparts.[24]:229 Likewise, in the UK, Albert Beaumont Wood detailed a system with "six or eight small holes" drilled in a metal block, identical to later production designs. However, his idea was rejected by the Navy, who said their valve department was far too busy to consider it.[27]

R&B Magnetron
Sir John Randall and Harry Boot's original cavity magnetron developed in 1940 at the University of Birmingham, England
Manetron Magnet
The electromagnet used in conjunction with Randall and Boot's original magnetron
Original cavity magnetron, 1940 (9663811280)
The anode block which is part of the cavity magnetron developed by Randall and Boot

In 1940, at the University of Birmingham in the UK, John Randall and Harry Boot produced a working prototype of a cavity magnetron that produced about 400 W.[5] Within a week this had improved to 1 kW, and within the next few months, with the addition of water cooling and many detail changes, this had improved to 10 and then 25 kW.[5] To deal with its drifting frequency, they sampled the output signal and synchronized their receiver to whatever frequency was actually being generated. In 1941, the problem of frequency instability was solved by James Sayers coupling ("strapping") alternate cavities within the magnetron which reduced the instability by a factor of 5-6.[28] (For an overview of early magnetron designs, including that of Boot and Randall, see [29]) According to Andy Manning from the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum, Randall and Boot's discovery was "a massive, massive breakthrough" and "deemed by many, even now, to be the most important invention that came out of the Second World War", while professor of military history at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, David Zimmerman, states:

The magnetron remains the essential radio tube for shortwave radio signals of all types. It not only changed the course of the war by allowing us to develop airborne radar systems, it remains the key piece of technology that lies at the heart of your microwave oven today. The cavity magnetron's invention changed the world.[5]

Because France had just fallen to the Nazis and Britain had no money to develop the magnetron on a massive scale, Winston Churchill agreed that Sir Henry Tizard should offer the magnetron to the Americans in exchange for their financial and industrial help.[5] An early 10 kW version, built in England by the General Electric Company Research Laboratories, Wembley, London (not to be confused with the similarly named American company General Electric), was taken on the Tizard Mission in September 1940. As the discussion turned to radar, the US Navy representatives began to detail the problems with their short-wavelength systems, complaining that their klystrons could only produce 10 W. With a flourish, "Taffey" Bowen pulled out a magnetron and explained it produced 1000 times that.[5][30]

Bell Telephone Laboratories took the example and quickly began making copies, and before the end of 1940, the Radiation Laboratory had been set up on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop various types of radar using the magnetron. By early 1941, portable centimetric airborne radars were being tested in American and British aircraft.[5] In late 1941, the Telecommunications Research Establishment in the United Kingdom used the magnetron to develop a revolutionary airborne, ground-mapping radar codenamed H2S. The H2S radar was in part developed by Alan Blumlein and Bernard Lovell.

The cavity magnetron was widely used during World War II in microwave radar equipment and is often credited with giving Allied radar a considerable performance advantage over German and Japanese radars, thus directly influencing the outcome of the war. It was later described by American historian James Phinney Baxter III as "[t]he most valuable cargo ever brought to our shores".[31]

Centimetric radar, made possible by the cavity magnetron, allowed for the detection of much smaller objects and the use of much smaller antennas. The combination of small-cavity magnetrons, small antennas, and high resolution allowed small, high quality radars to be installed in aircraft. They could be used by maritime patrol aircraft to detect objects as small as a submarine periscope, which allowed aircraft to attack and destroy submerged submarines which had previously been undetectable from the air. Centimetric contour mapping radars like H2S improved the accuracy of Allied bombers used in the strategic bombing campaign, despite the existence of the German FuG 350 Naxos device to specifically detect it. Centimetric gun-laying radars were likewise far more accurate than the older technology. They made the big-gunned Allied battleships more deadly and, along with the newly developed proximity fuze, made anti-aircraft guns much more dangerous to attacking aircraft. The two coupled together and used by anti-aircraft batteries, placed along the flight path of German V-1 flying bombs on their way to London, are credited with destroying many of the flying bombs before they reached their target.

Since then, many millions of cavity magnetrons have been manufactured; while some have been for radar the vast majority have been for microwave ovens. The use in radar itself has dwindled to some extent, as more accurate signals have generally been needed and developers have moved to klystron and traveling-wave tube systems for these needs.

Health hazards

Radio waves hazard symbol
Caution: radiowaves hazard
D-W003 Warnung vor giftigen Stoffen ty
Caution: Poisonous particles for the lungs

At least one hazard in particular is well known and documented. As the lens of the eye has no cooling blood flow, it is particularly prone to overheating when exposed to microwave radiation. This heating can in turn lead to a higher incidence of cataracts in later life.[32] A microwave oven with a warped door or poor microwave sealing can be hazardous.

There is also a considerable electrical hazard around magnetrons, as they require a high voltage power supply.

Some magnetrons have beryllium oxide (beryllia) ceramic insulators, which are dangerous if crushed and inhaled, or otherwise ingested. Single or chronic exposure can lead to berylliosis, an incurable lung condition. In addition, beryllia is listed as a confirmed human carcinogen by the IARC; therefore, broken ceramic insulators or magnetrons should not be directly handled.

All magnetrons contain a small amount of thorium mixed with tungsten in their filament. While this is a radioactive metal, the risk of cancer is low as it never gets airborne in normal usage. Only if the filament is taken out of the magnetron, finely crushed, and inhaled can it pose a health hazard.[33][34][35]

See also


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-11-20. Retrieved 2016-11-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b Redhead, Paul A., "The Invention of the Cavity Magnetron and its Introduction into Canada and the U.S.A.", La Physique au Canada, November 2001
  3. ^ a b Hollmann, Hans Erich, "Magnetron," Archived 2018-01-14 at the Wayback Machine U.S. patent no. 2,123,728 (filed: 1936 November 27 ; issued: 1938 July 12).
  4. ^ "The Magnetron". Bournemouth University. 1995–2009. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Angela Hind (February 5, 2007). "Briefcase 'that changed the world'". BBC News. Archived from the original on November 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
  6. ^ a b Schroter, B. (Spring 2008). "How important was Tizard's Box of Tricks?" (PDF). Imperial Engineer. 8: 10. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
  7. ^ "Who Was Alan Dower Blumlein?". Dora Media Productions. 1999–2007. Archived from the original on 7 September 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
  8. ^ Nakajima, S. (1992). "Japanese radar development prior to 1945". IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine. 34 (6): 17. doi:10.1109/74.180636.
  9. ^ a b Brookner, Eli (19–20 April 2010). "From $10,000 magee to $7 magee and $10 transmitter and receiver (T/R) on single chip". 2010 International Conference on the Origins and Evolution of the Cavity Magnetron. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  10. ^ Ma, L. "3D Computer Modeling of Magnetrons Archived 2008-10-10 at the Wayback Machine." University of London Ph.D. Thesis. December 2004. Accessed 2009-08-23.
  11. ^ White, Steve. "Electric Valves: Diodes, Triodes, and Transistors". Archived from the original on 25 August 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "The Magnetron". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Magnetron Operation". Archived from the original on 11 September 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  14. ^ a b c L.W. Turner,(ed), Electronics Engineer's Reference Book, 4th ed. Newnes-Butterworth, London 1976 ISBN 9780408001687, pages 7-71 to 7-77
  15. ^ See:
  16. ^ Goerth, Joachim (2010). "Early magnetron development especially in Germany". International Conference on the Origins and Evolution of the Cavity Magnetron (CAVMAG 2010), Bournemouth, England, UK, 19–20 April 2010. Piscataway, New Jersey, USA: IEEE. pp. 17–22.
  17. ^ Greinacher, H. (1912). "Über eine Anordnung zur Bestimmung von e/m" [On an apparatus for the determination of e/m]. Verhandlungen der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft (in German). 14: 856–864.
  18. ^ Wolff, Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Christian. "Radar Basics". Archived from the original on 23 December 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  19. ^ See:
  20. ^ Biographical information about August Žáček:
    • Fürth, R. H. (1962). "Prof. August Žáček". Nature. 193 (4816): 625.
    • (Anon.) (1956). "The 70th birthday of Prof. Dr. August Žáček". Czechoslovak Journal of Physics. 6 (2): 204–205. Available on-line at: Archived 2012-03-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ Biographical information about Erich Habann:
    • Günter Nagel, "Pionier der Funktechnik. Das Lebenswerk des Wissenschaftlers Erich Habann, der in Hessenwinkel lebte, ist heute fast vergessen" (Pioneer in Radio Technology. The life's work of scientist Erich Habann, who lived in Hessenwinkel, is nearly forgotten today.), Bradenburger Blätter (supplement of the Märkische Oderzeitung, a daily newspaper of the city of Frankfurt in the state of Brandenburg, Germany), 15 December 2006, page 9.
    • Karlsch, Rainer; Petermann, Heiko, eds. (2007). Für und Wider "Hitlers Bombe": Studien zur Atomforschung in Deutschland [For and Against "Hitler's Bomb": Studies on atomic research in Germany] (in German). New York, New York, USA: Waxmann Publishing Co. p. 251 footnote.
  22. ^ See:
    • Žáček, A. (May 1924). "Nová metoda k vytvorení netlumenych oscilací" [New method of generating undamped oscillations]. Časopis pro pěstování matematiky a fysiky [Journal for the Cultivation of Mathematics and Physics] (in Czech). 53: 378–380. Available (in Czech) at: Czech Digital Mathematics Library Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine.
    • Žáček, A. (1928). "Über eine Methode zur Erzeugung von sehr kurzen elektromagnetischen Wellen" [On a method for generating very short electromagnetic waves]. Zeitschrift für Hochfrequenztechnik (in German). 32: 172–180.
    • Žáček, A., "Spojení pro výrobu elektrických vln" [Circuit for the production of electrical waves], Czechoslovak patent no. 20,293 (filed: 31 May 1924; issued: 15 February 1926). Available (in Czech) at: Czech Industrial Property Office Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Habann, Erich (1924). "Eine neue Generatorröhre" [A new generator tube]. Zeitschrift für Hochfrequenztechnik (in German). 24: 115–120 and 135–141.
  24. ^ a b Kaiser, W. (1994). "The Development of Electron Tubes and of Radar technology: The Relationship of Science and Technology". In Blumtritt, O.; Petzold, H.; Aspray, W. Tracking the History of Radar. Piscataway, NJ, USA: IEEE. pp. 217–236.
  25. ^ Brittain, James E. (1985). "The magnetron and the beginnings of the microwave age". Physics Today. 38: 60–67.
  26. ^ See for example:
    • Soviet physicists:
    • Slutskin, Abram A.; Shteinberg, Dmitry S. (1926). "[Obtaining oscillations in cathode tubes with the aid of a magnetic field]". Журнал Русского Физико-Химического Общества [Zhurnal Russkogo Fiziko-Khimicheskogo Obshchestva, Journal of the Russian Physico-Chemical Society] (in Russian). 58 (2): 395–407.
    • Slutskin, Abram A.; Shteinberg, Dmitry S. (1927). "[Electronic oscillations in two-electrode tubes]". Український фізичний журнал [Ukrainski Fizychni Zapysky, Ukrainian Journal of Physics] (in Ukrainian). 1 (2): 22–27.
    • Slutzkin, A. A.; Steinberg, D. S. (May 1929). "Die Erzeugung von kurzwelligen ungedämpften Schwingungen bei Anwendung des Magnetfeldes" [The generation of undamped shortwave oscillations by application of a magnetic field]. Annalen der Physik (in German). 393 (5): 658–670.
    • Japanese engineers:
    • Yagi, Hidetsugu (1928). "Beam transmission of ultra-short waves". Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers. 16 (6): 715–741. Magnetrons are discussed in Part II of this article.
    • Okabe, Kinjiro (March 1928). "[Production of intense extra-short radio waves by a split-anode magnetron (Part 3)]". Journal of the Institute of Electrical Engineering of Japan (in Japanese): 284ff.
    • Okabe, Kinjiro (1929). "On the short-wave limit of magnetron oscillations". Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers. 17 (4): 652–659.
    • Okabe, Kinjiro (1930). "On the magnetron oscillation of new type". Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers. 18 (10): 1748–1749.
  27. ^ Kingsley, F.A. (2016). The Development of Radar Equipments for the Royal Navy, 1935–45. Archived from the original on 2018-05-05.
  28. ^ Barrett, Dick. "M.J.B.Scanlan; Early Centimetric Ground Radars - A Personal Reminiscence". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  29. ^ Willshaw, W. E.; L. Rushforth; A. G. Stainsby; R. Latham; A. W. Balls; A. H. King (1946). "The high-power pulsed magnetron: development and design for radar applications". The Journal of the Institution of Electrical Engineers - Part IIIA: Radiolocation. 93 (5): 985–1005. doi:10.1049/ji-3a-1.1946.0188. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  30. ^ Harford, Tim (9 October 2017). "How the search for a 'death ray' led to radar". BBC World Service. Archived from the original on 9 October 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2017. The magnetron stunned the Americans. Their research was years off the pace.
  31. ^ Baxter, James Phinney (III) (1946). Scientists Against Time. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Little, Brown, and Co. p. 142. (Baxter was the official historian of the Office of Scientific Research and Development.)
  32. ^ Lipman, R. M.; B. J. Tripathi; R. C. Tripathi (1988). "Cataracts induced by microwave and ionizing radiation". Survey of Ophthalmology. 33 (3): 200–210. doi:10.1016/0039-6257(88)90088-4. OSTI 6071133. PMID 3068822.
  33. ^ 3111, corporateName=Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation; address=New Illawarra Road, Lucas Heights NSW 2234 Australia; contact=+61 2 9717. "In the home - ANSTO". Archived from the original on 5 September 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  34. ^ "EngineerGuy Video: microwave oven". Archived from the original on 5 September 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  35. ^ EPA,OAR,ORIA,RPD, US. "Radiation Protection - US EPA". US EPA. Archived from the original on 1 October 2006. Retrieved 5 May 2018.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  36. ^ Jr. Raymond C. Watson (25 November 2009). Radar Origins Worldwide: History of Its Evolution in 13 Nations Through World War II. Trafford Publishing. pp. 315–. ISBN 978-1-4269-2110-0. Retrieved 24 June 2011.

External links

  • US 2123728 Hans Erich Hollmann/Telefunken GmbH: „Magnetron“ filed November 27, 1935
  • US 2315313 Buchholz, H. (1943). Cavity resonator
  • US 2357313 Carter, P.S. (1944). High frequency resonator and circuit therefor
  • US 2357314 Carter, P.S. (1944). Cavity resonator circuit
  • US 2408236 Spencer, P.L. (1946). Magnetron casing
  • US 2444152 Carter, P.S. (1948). Cavity resonator circuit
  • US 2611094 Rex, H.B. (1952). Inductance-capacitance resonance circuit
  • GB 879677 Dexter, S.A. (1959). Valve oscillator circuits; radio frequency output couplings
1940 in science

The year 1940 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below.

Allied technological cooperation during World War II

The Allies of World War II cooperated extensively in the development and manufacture of new and existing technologies to support military operations and intelligence gathering during the Second World War. There are various ways in which the allies cooperated, including the American Lend-Lease scheme and hybrid weapons such as the Sherman Firefly as well as the British Tube Alloys nuclear weapons research project which was absorbed into the American-led Manhattan Project. Several technologies invented in Britain proved critical to the military and were widely manufactured by the Allies during the Second World War.The origin of the cooperation stemmed from a 1940 visit by the Aeronautical Research Committee chairman Henry Tizard that arranged to transfer UK military technology to the US in case of the successful invasion of the UK that Hitler was planning as Operation Sea Lion. Tizard led a British technical mission, known as the Tizard Mission, containing details and examples of British technological developments in fields such as radar, jet propulsion and also the early British research into the atomic bomb. One of the devices brought to the US by the Mission, the resonant cavity magnetron, was later described as "the most valuable cargo ever brought to our shores".


COHO, short for Coherent Oscillator, is a technique used with radar systems based on the cavity magnetron to allow them to implement a moving target indicator display. Because the signals are only coherent when received, not transmitted, the concept is also sometimes known as coherent on receive. Due to the way the signal is processed, radars using this technique are known as pseudo-coherent radar.

Eric Megaw

Eric Christopher Stanley Megaw MBE (1908 – 25 January 1956) was an Irish (Belfast-educated) engineer who refined the power of the cavity magnetron for radar purposes (detection of U-boats) in the Second World War. He was appointed an MBE in 1943.

FuG 224 Berlin A

FuG 224 Berlin A was a German airborne radar of World War II. It used rotating antennae and a PPI (Plan Position Indicator) display to allow its use for ground mapping.

Although only a handful of sets were constructed, they saw service on the Fw 200 Condor.

FuG 240 Berlin

The FuG 240 "Berlin" was an airborne interception radar which the German Luftwaffe introduced at the very end of World War II. It was the first German radar to be based on the cavity magnetron, which eliminated the need for the large multiple dipole-based antenna arrays seen on earlier radars, thereby greatly increasing the performance of the night fighters. Introduced by Telefunken in April 1945, only about 25 units saw service.

Harry Boot

Henry Albert Howard "Harry" Boot (29 July 1917 – 8 February 1983) was an English physicist who with Sir John Randall and James Sayers developed the cavity magnetron, which was one of the keys to the Allied victory in the Second World War.

Hirst Research Centre

GEC Hirst Research Centre was one of the first specialised industrial research laboratories to be built in Britain, and was part of the General Electric Company plc empire. It was demolished in the early 1990s primarily because GEC had stopped funding serious research, as it was not immediately profitable.

It was named after Hugo Hirst, one of the founders of the company that would become General Electric Company plc. One of the centre's most famous achievements was the production of the cavity magnetron during World War II, the concept of which was established by Randall and Boot working at Birmingham University. Staff of the center were also important in developing radars for use during the war. The 60 m Radio mast at the back of the building became, along with Wembley Stadium, one of the landmarks of the area. Hirst was also instrumental in setting up the National Grid system which provides power to the whole of the UK. The centre also worked on the design of electrical power systems used on the British railways network.

The research centre was based in East Lane, Wembley, Middlesex, UK, and then in the 1990s moved to Borehamwood, UK.

After GEC had left the Wembley site, it was used as the set for some scenes of the 1995 film, Young Poisoner's Handbook.

James Sayers (physicist)

Professor James Sayers (2 September 1912 – 13 March 1993) was an important Northern Irish physicist, who played a crucial role in developing centimetric radar - now used in microwave ovens.

John Randall

John Randall may refer to:

John Randall (Annapolis mayor) (1750–1826), mayor of Annapolis, Maryland and colonel in the American Revolution

Sir John Randall (physicist) (1905–1984), British physicist, developer of the cavity magnetron

John Randall, Baron Randall of Uxbridge (born 1955), British Conservative Party politician, former MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip

John A. Randall (1881–1968), President of the Rochester Institute of Technology

John Randall (organist) (1715–1799), Professor of Music, Cambridge University

John Ernest Randall (born 1924), American ichthyologist, former director of the Oceanic Institute in Hawaii

John Herman Randall, Jr. (1899–1980), American philosopher, author and educator

John Witt Randall (1813–1892), American zoologist and poet

John Randall (rugby league), known as Jack, rugby league footballer of the 1900s for Featherstone Rovers, Hunslet

John Randall (Puritan) (1570–1622), English puritan divine

John Randall (public servant), President of the National Union of Students, 1973–1975

John Randall (shipbuilder) (1755–1802), English dockyard owner

John Randall (physicist)

Sir John Turton Randall, (23 March 1905 – 16 June 1984) was an English physicist and biophysicist, credited with radical improvement of the cavity magnetron, an essential component of centimetric wavelength radar, which was one of the keys to the Allied victory in the Second World War. It is also the key component of microwave ovens.Randall collaborated with Harry Boot, and they produced a valve that could spit out pulses of microwave radio energy on a wavelength of 10cm. On the significance of their invention, Professor of military history at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, David Zimmerman, states: "The magnetron remains the essential radio tube for shortwave radio signals of all types. It not only changed the course of the war by allowing us to develop airborne radar systems, it remains the key piece of technology that lies at the heart of your microwave oven today. The cavity magnetron's invention changed the world."Randall also led the King's College, London team which worked on the structure of DNA. Randall's deputy, Professor Maurice Wilkins, shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with James Watson and Francis Crick of the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge for the determination of the structure of DNA. His other staff included Rosalind Franklin, Raymond Gosling, Alex Stokes and Herbert Wilson, all involved in research on DNA.

MIT Radiation Laboratory

The Radiation Laboratory, commonly called the Rad Lab, was a microwave and radar research laboratory located at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts (US). It was first created in October 1940 and operated until 31 December 1945 when its functions were dispersed to industry, other departments within MIT, and in 1951, the newly formed MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

The use of microwaves for various radio and radar uses was highly desired before the war, but existing microwave devices like the klystron were far too low powered to be useful. Alfred Lee Loomis, a millionaire and physicist who headed his own private laboratory, organized the Microwave Committee to consider these devices and look for improvements. In early 1940, Winston Churchill organized what became the Tizard Mission to introduce US researchers to several new technologies the UK had been developing. Among these was the cavity magnetron, a leap forward in the creation of microwaves that made them practical for the first time.

Loomis arranged for funding under the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) and reorganized the Microwave Committee at MIT to study the magnetron and radar technology in general. Lee A. DuBridge served as the Rad Lab director. The lab rapidly expanded, and within months was larger than the UK's efforts which had been running for several years by this point. By 1943 the lab began to deliver a stream of ever-improved devices, which could be produced in huge numbers by the US's industrial base. At its peak, the Rad Lab employed 4,000 at MIT and several other labs around the world, and designed half of all the radar systems used during the war.

By the end of the war, the US held a leadership position in a number of microwave-related fields. Among their notable products were the SCR-584, the finest gun-laying radar of the war, and the SCR-720, an airborne interception radar that became the standard late-war system for both US and UK night fighters. They also developed the H2X, a version of the British H2S bombing radar that operated at shorter wavelengths in the X band. The Rad Lab also developed Loran-A, the first worldwide radio navigation system, which originally was known as "LRN" for Loomis Radio Navigation.


In electronics, a micropup is a style of triode vacuum tube (valve) developed during World War II for use at very high frequencies such as those used in radar. They are characterized by an external anode block, which allows better heat dissipation. These tubes could deliver radio frequency power on the order of kilowatts at wavelengths as short as 25 cm., and on the order of 100 kW at 200 MHZ in pulses. Micropup tubes used very high voltages to minimize the transit time of electrons between anode and cathode.The development of the micropup vacuum tube was made possible by the development of vacuum-tight joining of copper to glass, around 1939. The designs used a cylindrical anode and a concentric cylindrical grid electrode; the cathode was directly heated thoriated tungsten wires, which after the first types were all oxide coated to improve electron emission. One type, the NT99 developed by GEC could produce up to 200 kW peak output (for a pair of tubes) when used in 600 MHZ radar sets. Although widely used in "metre-band" radar systems, the cavity magnetron was able to produce significant power at much higher frequencies, as radar systems developed during the war.

Microwave oven

A microwave oven (also commonly referred to as a microwave) is an electric oven that heats and cooks food by exposing it to electromagnetic radiation in the microwave frequency range. This induces polar molecules in the food to rotate and produce thermal energy in a process known as dielectric heating. Microwave ovens heat foods quickly and efficiently because excitation is fairly uniform in the outer 25–38 mm (1–1.5 inches) of a homogeneous, high water content food item; food is more evenly heated throughout than generally occurs in other cooking techniques.

The development of the cavity magnetron in the UK made possible the production of electromagnetic waves of a small enough wavelength (microwaves). American engineer Percy Spencer is generally credited with inventing the modern microwave oven after World War II from radar technology developed during the war. Named the "Radarange", it was first sold in 1946. Raytheon later licensed its patents for a home-use microwave oven that was first introduced by Tappan in 1955, but these units were still too large and expensive for general home use. Sharp Corporation introduced the first microwave oven with a turntable between 1964 and 1966. The countertop microwave oven was first introduced in 1967 by the Amana Corporation. After Sharp introduced low-cost microwave ovens affordable for residential use in the late 1970s, their use spread into commercial and residential kitchens around the world. In addition to their use in cooking food, types of microwave ovens are used for heating in many industrial processes.

Microwave ovens are a common kitchen appliance and are popular for reheating previously cooked foods and cooking a variety of foods. They are also useful for rapid heating of otherwise slowly prepared foodstuffs, which can easily burn or turn lumpy when cooked in conventional pans, such as hot butter, fats, chocolate or porridge. Unlike conventional ovens, microwave ovens usually do not directly brown or caramelize food, since they rarely attain the necessary temperatures to produce Maillard reactions. Exceptions occur in rare cases where the oven is used to heat frying-oil and other very oily items (such as bacon), which attain far higher temperatures than that of boiling water.

Microwave ovens have limited roles in professional cooking, because the boiling-range temperatures of a microwave will not produce the flavorful chemical reactions that frying, browning, or baking at a higher temperature will. However, additional heat sources can be added to microwave ovens.

Moving target indication

Moving target indication (MTI) is a mode of operation of a radar to discriminate a target against the clutter. It describes a variety of techniques used to find moving objects, like an aircraft, and filter out unmoving ones, like hills or trees. It contrasts with the modern stationary target indication (STI) technique, which uses details of the signal to directly determine the mechanical properties of the reflecting objects and thereby find targets whether they are moving or not.

Early MTI systems generally used an acoustic delay line to store a single pulse of the received signal for exactly the time between broadcasts (the pulse repetition frequency). This stored signal was electrically inverted and then sent into the receiver at the same time as the next pulse was being received. The result was that the signal from any objects that did not move mixed with the inverted stored signal and became muted out. Only signals that changed, because they moved, remained on the display. Such systems were in use in late-World War II radars of UK design, and became widely used in the post-war era. These were subject to a wide variety of noise effects that made them useful only for strong signals, generally for aircraft or ship detection.

The introduction of phase-coherent klystron transmitters, as opposed to the incoherent cavity magnetron used on earlier radars, led to the introduction of a new MTI technique. In these systems, the signal was not fed directly to the display, but first fed into a phase detector. Stationary objects did not change the phase from pulse to pulse, but moving objects did. By storing the phase signal, instead of the original analog signal, or video, and comparing the stored and current signal for changes in phase, the moving targets are revealed. This technique is far more resistant to noise, and can easily be tuned to select different velocity thresholds to filter out different types of motion.Phase coherent signals also allowed for the direct measurement of velocity via the Doppler shift of a single received signal. This can be fed into a bandpass filter to filter out any part of the return signal that does not show a frequency shift, thereby directly extracting the moving targets. This became common in the 1970s and especially the 1980s. Modern radars generally perform all of these MTI techniques as part of a wider suite of signal processing being carried out by digital signal processors. MTI may be specialized in terms of the type of clutter and environment: airborne MTI (AMTI), ground MTI (GMTI), etc., or may be combined mode: stationary and moving target indication (SMTI).

Naxos radar detector

The Naxos radar warning receiver was a World War II German countermeasure to X band microwave radar produced by a cavity magnetron. Introduced in September 1943, it replaced Metox, which was incapable of detecting centimetric radar. Two versions were widely used, the FuG 350 Naxos Z that allowed night fighters to home in on H2S radars carried by RAF Bomber Command aircraft, and the FuMB 7 Naxos U for U-boats, offering early warning of the approach of RAF Coastal Command patrol aircraft equipped with ASV Mk. III. A later model, Naxos ZR, provided warning of the approach of RAF night fighters equipped with AI Mk. VIII radar.

Neptun (radar)

Neptun ('Neptune') was the code name of a series of low-to-mid-VHF band airborne intercept radar devices developed by Germany in World War II and used as active targeting devices in several types of aircraft. They were usually combined with a so-called "backwards warning device", indicated by the addition of the letters "V/R" ("Vorwärts/Rückwärts",meaning Forward/Backward). Working in the metre range, Neptun was meant as a stop-gap solution until scheduled SHF-band devices became available (for instance the FuG 240/E cavity magnetron-based Berlin AI radar).Transceiving antennas used for the Neptun on twin-engined night fighters usually used a Hirschgeweih (stag's antlers) eight-dipole array with shorter elements than the previous 90 MHz SN-2 radar had used, or as an experimental fitment, the 90°-crossed twin-element set Yagi based Morgenstern single-mast-mounted array.


A resonator is a device or system that exhibits resonance or resonant behavior, that is, it naturally oscillates at some frequencies, called its resonant frequencies, with greater amplitude than at others. The oscillations in a resonator can be either electromagnetic or mechanical (including acoustic). Resonators are used to either generate waves of specific frequencies or to select specific frequencies from a signal. Musical instruments use acoustic resonators that produce sound waves of specific tones. Another example is quartz crystals used in electronic devices such as radio transmitters and quartz watches to produce oscillations of very precise frequency.

A cavity resonator is one in which waves exist in a hollow space inside the device. In electronics and radio, microwave cavities consisting of hollow metal boxes are used in microwave transmitters, receivers and test equipment to control frequency, in place of the tuned circuits which are used at lower frequencies. Acoustic cavity resonators, in which sound is produced by air vibrating in a cavity with one opening, are known as Helmholtz resonators.

Science and technology in Romania

On May 14, 1981 Romania became the 11th country in the world to have an astronaut in space. That astronaut, Dumitru Prunariu is today's president of Romanian Space Agency.

Henri Coandă was a Romanian inventor and pioneer of aviation. He discovered the Coanda effect of fluidics.

George Emil Palade is a Romanian-born cell biologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974 for his study of internal organization of such cell structures as mitochondria, chloroplasts, the Golgi apparatus, and for the discovery of the ribosomes. He also won the National Medal of Science in 1986.

George Constantinescu created the theory of sonics, while Lazăr Edeleanu was the first chemist to synthesize amphetamine and also invented the modern method of refining crude oil.

Several mathematicians distinguished themselves as well, among them: Acad. Gheorghe Țițeica, Spiru Haret, Acad. Grigore Moisil (multi-valued logics), Acad. Miron Nicolescu, Acad. Nicolae Popescu (category theory applications to rings and modules, and number theory; Popesco-Gabriel Theorem), George Georgescu (Łukasiewicz logic algebras in categories), Florin Boca (quantum groups and C*-algebras), Liliana Elena Popescu (category theory and computing/modelling theory), Madalina Buneci (groupoid and double groupoid representations) and Ştefan Odobleja; the latter is also regarded as the ideological father behind cybernetics.

Notable Romanian physicists and inventors also include: Horia Hulubei in atomic physics, Șerban Țițeica in theoretical physics, especially thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, Mihai Gavrilă in quantum theory, Alexandru Proca known for the first meson theory of nuclear forces and Proca's equations of the vectorial mesonic field, formulated independently of the pion theory of Nobel laureate Hideki Yukawa (who predicted the existence of the pion in 1947), Ştefan Procopiu known for the first theory of the magnetic moment of the electron in 1911 (now known as the Bohr-Procopiu magneton), Theodor V. Ionescu- the inventor of a multiple-cavity magnetron in 1935, a hydrogen maser in 1947, 3D imaging for cinema/television in 1924, quantum emission in hot plasmas and hot deuterium plasma beams for controlled nuclear fusion in 1969, Ionel Solomon known for the nuclear magnetic resonance theory in solids in 1955, Solomon equations, solid state physics, semiconductors in 1979, and photovoltaics since 1988, Mircea Sabău and Florentina I. Mosora known for their contributions to Nuclear Medicine, Petrache Poenaru, Nicolae Teclu and Victor Toma, with the latter known for the invention and construction of the first Romanian computer, the CIFA-1 in 1955. At the beginning of the second millennium, there was a boom in Romania in the number of computer programmers. Romania is reported to be among the countries with the highest number of computer programmers in the world. Some examples of successful software include RAV (Romanian AntiVirus) which was bought in 2003 by Microsoft for use in their development of Windows Defender; or BitDefender which is considered the number one antivirus software and internet security software at TopTenReviews.

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