JOSEPH â JAMES AHERN * âWe had the hose turned on us!â: Ross Gunn and the Naval Research Laboratoryâs early research into nuclear propulsion, 1939-1946 ON SEPTEMBER 30, 1954 the United States Navy commissioned the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the worldâs first nuclear powered vessel. Credit for making Nautilus a reality goes to Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, who, as a captain, was assigned to the Bureau of Ships in 1947 to look into the potential of nuclear propulsion. He later became head of the Division of Reactor Development at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and Director of the Naval Reactors Branch in the Bureau of Ships. While Rickoverâs engineering and managerial skills provided the impetus for the creation of Nautilus, the concept of a nuclear powered submarine dates back to 1939 and Ross Gunn, a research physicist and technical advisor at the Naval Re* American Philosophical Society Library, 105 South 5t., Philadelphia, PA 19106-3386; firstname.lastname@example.org. I thank Rodney P. Carlisle, Stacey C. Peeples, Martin L. Levitt, Robert S. Cox, and Selma Rabinowitz, David Van Keuren, and Gary Weir for advice, the editors of HSPS for their editorial assistance, and the staffs of the National Archives and Records Administration in
Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences – University of California Press
Published: Mar 1, 2003
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