Barry's Coilguns

The Author

(Reproduced from "Zero to Eighty" by EF Northrup)

Edwin Finch Northrup (1886-1940) was a pioneer in the development of electromagnetic propulsion and one of the first to suggest its use for space travel. Northrup was a renowned inventor in his time, with more than one hundred patents to his credit as well as many professional honors. He graduated from Amherst College with an MA and AB and from Johns Hopkins with a PhD in physics.

From 1910 to 1920 he was a member of Princeton’s physics department, where he is said to have been one of the university’s most brilliant researchers. His primary interest was in the applications of high-frequency electromagnetism. While at Princeton he developed an induction furnace that is standard equipment in industry today.

Northrup left Princeton in 1920 to pursue the commercialization of his furnace. It was at this time that he did most of his work on the linear induction motor described in this book. At one demonstration for the press he launched a projectile 500 feet from a 20 foot gun.

Northrup had begun corresponding with rocket pioneer Robert Goddard as early 1913 and in 1934 they discussed the use of electromagnetic propulsion in conjunction with rocket propulsion. It has only been in the last decade that NASA and the aerospace industry have caught up with Dr. Northrup’s vision in the development of linear induction launching systems for spacecraft.

  < Previous Page 16 of 17 Next >