John G. Trump
John G. Trump
John George Trump
August 21, 1907
|Died||February 21, 1985 (aged 77)|
|Education||New York University (BS)|
Columbia University (MS)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD)
|Known for||Van de Graaff generator|
Electron beam sterilization of wastewater
|Awards||King's Medal for Service (1947)|
President's Certificate (1948)
Lamme Medal (1960)
National Medal of Science (1983)
|Institutions||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
John George Trump (August 21, 1907 – February 21, 1985) was an American electrical engineer, inventor, and physicist. A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1936 to 1973, he was a recipient of U.S. President Ronald Reagan's National Medal of Science and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. John Trump was noted for developing rotational radiation therapy. Together with Robert J. Van de Graaff, he developed one of the first million-volt X-ray generators. He was the paternal uncle of Donald Trump, who would later go on to become the 45th president of the United States.
John's brother, Fred, joined their mother in real estate development and management while still in his teens (Elizabeth Trump & Son). Initially, John and his brother tried working together building houses, but ultimately they dissolved their partnership, and John pursued a career in electrical engineering.
Trump received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the New York University Tandon School of Engineering (then Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn) in 1929, his master's degree in physics from Columbia University, and his doctorate of electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1933. He was a professor at MIT from 1936 until 1973.
During World War II, Trump switched from work on hospital X-ray machines to research into similar technologies with a more direct application to warfare, especially the development of radar. During 1940, he joined the newly formed National Defense Research Committee (NDRC), as technical aide to Karl Compton, President of MIT and the Chairman of the Radar Division.
During 1942, Trump became Secretary of the Microwave Committee, a sub-committee of the NDRC. The director of the Microwave Committee was Alfred Lee Loomis, the millionaire physicist, who decided to create a laboratory. He selected a site for it, chose a suitably discreet and ambiguous name for it and funded the construction, until the Federal administration was established. The new institution was the MIT Radiation Laboratory, or the "Rad Lab". The British were also researching radar, which they termed Radio Direction Finder (RDF), and had started much earlier. Their Tizard Mission to the US showed how much more sophisticated they were with some of the technologies, particularly the magnetron. The US decided to send a team to Britain to help coordinate the efforts of the two Allies. The unit was known as the "British Branch of the Radiation Laboratory" (BBRL) and operated as a department of Britain's Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) at Malvern, in Worcestershire. In 1943, as the technical aide in Division 14 of the NDRC, Trump reviewed and analyzed the papers of Nikola Tesla when the inventor died in a New York City hotel. The research was completed on behalf of the Alien property Custodian office in Washington DC. From February 1944 to the end of the war in Europe, Trump was the Director of the BBRL.
During this time, Trump also served in the Advisory Specialist Group on Radar, advising USAAF General Carl Spaatz on navigational radar, precision-bombing radar, and also defenses against the German radars found in their night-fighters and in their flak units. The systems included: Gee, Oboe, LORAN, H2X, MEW & SCR-584. Trump worked with all the most important British radar experts, including Sir Robert Watson-Watt, A.P. Rowe and Bernard Lovell. At the end of the war, Trump also had interviews with Germany's main radar technicians. Trump received recognition for his war-work from both the United States and the United Kingdom.
John G. Trump married Elora Sauerbrun (1913–1983), and they had three children: the late John Gordon Trump (1938–2012) of Watertown, Massachusetts; Christine Philp of New London, New Hampshire; and Karen Ingraham of Los Alamos, New Mexico; and six grandchildren. His nephew Donald John Trump became the 45th president of the United States in 2017.
He returned to MIT to teach and direct research for three decades after the war. Trump died in Boston on February 21, 1985.
The National Academy of Engineering described Trump as "a pioneer in the scientific, engineering and medical applications of high voltage machinery". James Melcher, Trump's lab director, is quoted as saying: "John, over a period of three decades, would be approached by people of all sorts because he could make megavolt beams of ions and electrons – death rays. ... What did he do with it? Cancer research, sterilizing sludge out in Deer Island [a waste disposal facility], all sorts of wondrous things. He didn't touch the weapons stuff."
Awards and honors
Trump received a number of awards including:
- 1947: The King's Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom (KMS), given by George VI
- 1948: The President's Certificate of Merit, presented by President Harry S. Truman
- 1960: The Lamme Medal, given by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers
- 1983: The National Medal of Science, presented by President Ronald Reagan
- "Sewage Problem Solved". Spokane Daily Chronicle. 21 May 1977. Retrieved 19 Aug 2015.
- US 2123728 "High Energy Electron Treatment of Water" of Dr. John G. Trump, requested by High Voltage Engineering Corp
- "JOHN TRUMP DIES - ENGINEER WAS 78". NYTimes.com. 1985-02-26. Retrieved 2016-12-24.
- "John George Trump | Memorial Tributes: National Academy of Engineering, Volume 3 | The National Academies Press". Nap.edu. doi:10.17226/1384. Retrieved 2016-12-24.
- "The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details | NSF - National Science Foundation". Nsf.gov. Retrieved 2016-12-24.
- "J. G. Trump - Engineering and Technology History Wiki". Ethw.org. 2016-01-29. Retrieved 2016-12-24.
- "Private Papers of Dr J G Trump (Documents.4461)". Iwm.org.uk. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2016-12-24.
- "Private Papers of Dr J G Trump". Imperial War Museums. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
- Thomas, William (2015-04-10). Rational Action: The Sciences of Policy in Britain and America, 1940-1960. MIT Press. ISBN 9780262028509.
- "JOHN GEORGE TRUMP 1907-1985". NAE Website. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
- "School of Engineering - Electrical Engineering" (PDF). Massachusetts Institute of Technology Bulletin. 85 (1): 123. October 1949.
- "John Gordon Trump". Legacy.com. The Boston Globe. September 27, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
- "Eric Dubois: Academic Genealogy". Site.uottawa.ca. Retrieved 2016-12-24.
- Science for the People, January/February 1988, p25, Retrieved 2016-11-4.