U.S. Hang Gliding Pilots




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 Post subject: Robert W. Wood
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Nominated for U. S. Hawks historical membership: Robert W. Wood, hang glider pilot trained by Otto Lilienthal, American correspondent for the Boston Transcript :!: :!: :!: :) or Boston Evening Transcript. [... maybe just one flight, but oh! a flight indeed ... and just a week before Otto's fateful fall ... Robert wrote of himself as a brother aeronaut; we know the feeling: A Thrilling Account by a Brother Aeronaut.]
Quote:
Yes, confirmed; one and same intrepid hang glider guy:
http://www.lilienthal-museum.de/olma/el2126.htm
And also: http://www.lilienthal-museum.de/olma/l2126.htm
Quote:
The readers of the Transcript will doubtless be interested in an account of the last flights of the fearless experimenter, which I witnessed the previous Sunday, and also, perhaps, in hearing of my own experience with the machine.
:!:



born Concord, Massachusetts: 2 May 1868
died Amityville, New York: 11 August 1955

Invited: information about Robert W. Wood.
A training flight under the direction of Otto was on August 2, 1896; it seems that the hang glider was one of Otto's biplane hang gliders, 20 ft wing span and 6 ft gap between the wings. (Ref., so far, is Tom D. Crouch's book, A Dream of Wings). I am only guessing right now that the craft was the following, but the shown pilot in unknown, but probably Otto: Image. After watching about 10 flights by Otto, then Robert W. Wood asked for a try at flight; Otto complied and instructed Robert. True flight for Robert followed! :thumbup:
Quote:
[ ] I have yet to prove that hang glider Robert W. Wood is or is not the noteworthy professor, physicist, writer, and inventor. If you have answer to this question, please post. Thanks. :?: :?: :idea: The U. S. Hawk nominee was about the right age and from about the right territory to be perhaps the same person; proof is needed. The book in German might hold the answer: Lilienthal und die Amerikaner: Beiträge zur Entwicklung der Flugtechnik by Werner Schwipps. Schwipps has Robert Williams Wood as our guy in the Doppeldecker (or Dopeldecker) hang glider (double-decker hang glider). Yes, I think the nominee is the physicist, etc. Notes in the Schwipps book bring bridge. And the bridge is accented by the following clip from a lighter writer:

Quote:
Metaphorically speaking, however, plasmons seem to have rendered one scientist invisible, at least in terms of broad recognition: Robert W. Wood, a physics professor at Johns Hopkins University who first observed so-called "field emissions" -- charged particles emitted from a conductor in an electric field -- in 1897. (This effect became the basis for field-emission microscopes, used to study atomic structure.) Wood was also the first person to unwittingly record the energy lost as heat by plasmons skimming along the surface of metals in 1902, although he couldn't explain the effect at the time. It took 40 years for Italian physicist Ugo Fano to provide an explanation: metals are not perfect conductors, as had been previously believed. Fano found that a conducting surface could guide light as a 2D surface wave (which is why plasmons are also known as two-dimensional light). Those waves absorb energy, which explains Wood's anomalous observations of energy loss in the light reflected from metallic surfaces.

So technically, Wood "discovered" plasmons; he just didn't realize it. And while he was internationally known at the time for his many achievements in optics and spectroscopy, nowadays, his name is hardly a household word, even within the physics community. He's more of a historical curiosity, a footnote to the many scientific papers now being published on plasmon-related research; Wikipedia only has him listed as a "stub." Personally, I blame those mischievous little plasmons. They have cunningly shielded him from the recognition he so richly deserves. To me, Wood is physics' Invisible Man.

That's a shame, because he certainly had an interesting and varied career. Black lights are sometimes known as "Wood lights" in his honor, since he is considered the father of infrared and ultraviolet photography. Using a glass filter that would transmit only UV light, he photographed the moon, demonstrating that the darkest area in UV light is the Aristarchus Plateau. The Wood crater on the far side of the moon is named after him. He was the first to publish infrared photographs of landscapes in 1910, which were later exhibited at the Royal Photographic Society. And in 1919 he published the first ultraviolet photographs of the human body.

Unlike most modern physicists, Wood's research involved almost no mathematics; he thought math was boring, and preferred to focus on pictures and showy demonstrations during his class lectures, sometimes involving small explosions or flames. He never earned a bona fide PhD, and funded his early post-undergraduate studies by working part-time as a bottle-washer. His well-known fondness for pranks paid off around 1906, when he famously debunked Henri Blondlot's claim to have discovered a new form of invisible radiation, "N-rays." (This was just a few years after Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays, so the public was inclined to be a bit more credulous about the existence of invisible radiation.) Blondlot claimed the N-rays could only be detected with his own machine. Wood secretly removed the inner workings of the machine -- specifically, a prism -- and when Blondlot repeated the demonstration, he still claimed to see his N-rays, unaware his "detector" no longer worked. Wood was highly amused; one assumes Blondlot was not.

As if those accomplishments weren't enough, Wood also invented the method for thawing frozen street water mains by passing an electric current them; the frosted glass bulb; even a method for detecting forged documents that was very cutting edge in his day. He experimented with aerial photography by attaching a camera to a kite. And during a trip to Germany in August 1896, Wood photographed a few test flights by famed aviator Otto Lilienthal -- literally one week before Lilienthal plunged to his death during another test flight when his glider stalled out. He even published a children's book of nonsense verse in 1907, How To Tell the Birds from the Flowers.

Plasmons are back in the science news this year, thanks to several papers presented at the APS March meeting in Baltimore last week on the emerging field of plasmonics. To date, it's proven difficult to combine photonic components -- such as fiber optic cables -- with electronic components like wires and transistors because of their mismatched capabilities and size scales. Photonic components can carry a lot of data -- witness the explosion in broadband data transmission rates -- but are bulkier than electronic components, which in turn can carry less data. The Holy Grail is to be able to combine the best features of both onto a single chip. Plasmons might be the key to achieving it, since they operate at optical frequencies -- typically 100,000 times greater than the frequency of even the most cutting-edge microprocessors -- and the higher the frequency of the wave, the more information you can transport over it. Yet they take up much less space because their wavelengths are much smaller than the light used to create them.

This makes plasmons extremely promising for a wide range of applications -- not just to make things "invisible," but also to enable scientists to see fine details that were previously undetectable. For instance, a team of scientists at the University of Maryland are developing a two-dimensional plasmon microscope, ideal for imaging living cells, that could operate much like a point-and-shoot camera and reveal much more detail that currently available with existing imaging techniques. Other researchers are exploiting plasmons to create "super lenses," relying on tiny nanoparticles to amplify and focus the light shining on a given sample. Scientists at the University of Texas, for example, have built a "super lens" and used it in a device to take pictures just below the surface of thin material substrates. Quote from http://twistedphysics.typepad.com/cockt ... re/page/2/ by Posted by Jennifer Ouellette on December 17, 2007


Going with that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_W._Wood would be the nominee who flew a week before Otto's death-causing crash. :thumbdown: :!: :(

Some wish list items:
[ ] Robert W. Wood must have written about the matters of his visit in Germany with Otto. It would be neat to collect Wood's article(s) about Otto. :?:
Yes, one such classic was on Oct. 16, 1896, in some paper, London, apparently. One representation of that article is housed online at http://www.lilienthal-museum.de/olma/el2126.htm
We seek facsimile now for that article with its photos. [ ] We seek more.

[ ] More about Robert himself. :?:
[ ] Photographs of Robert, perhaps at his schools as a student, etc. :?:
[ ] This seems to be the nominee Robert: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?Rob ... liams_Wood
[ ] One of his selected works might clue why he might have gone to see Otto: How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers: A Manual of Flornithology for Beginners (New York: Paul Elder, 1907) [poetry: coll: chap: hb/] I have not see the book. Anyone?

See three photographs of Otto by nominee Robert W. Wood http://www.lilienthal-museum.de/olma/eba1896.htm

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Anyone to second the nomination? :?:

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 Post subject: Re: Robert W. Wood
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:09 pm 
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Hi #5 :wave:

Yes I second that :!:

Do you have a time machine, Joe? How do you find so much early info? :thumbup: :thumbup: :clap: :clap:

This is good reading. It gives me ah, we are not alone, feeling.

Last month, our local paper published an informative article that BobK wrote. We submitted 7 pictures along with the article.

The Editor put it on the front page ok, but ommited one of the pics.. Wouldn't you know it? Otto :wtf: :wtf:

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 Post subject: Re: Robert W. Wood
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:23 pm 
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The apparatus tipped from side to side a good deal, hut I managed to land safely, much to my satisfaction, and immediately determined to order a machine for myself and learn to fly. The feeling is most delightful and wholly indescribable.


1896? 60+ years before Barry Palmer. A little spooky.


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 Post subject: Re: Robert W. Wood
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:44 pm 
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JoeF wrote:
Nominated for U. S. Hawks historical membership: Robert W. Wood

SamKellner wrote:
Yes I second that :!:


We loosely formed a Hang Gliding Historical Committee, but I don't recall if we appointed a Chairman or any members. I think the two logical choices for Chairman would be Joe Faust and Neil Larson. Since we haven't heard from Neil in a while (I hope he's alright), I think it might be prudent for me (as President of the US Hawks) to appoint Joe Faust as the acting Chairman of the US Hawks Historical Committee.

So Joe, please feel free to organize your Committee any way you like (members, officers, rules, procedures, etc). Please also feel free to establish any kind of historical membership list and begin to populate that list. You might want to start a special topic in the Hang Gliding Historical Committee that lists the names of people who have been inducted and then post links to the individual topics (like this one) that expands on their achievements.

How does that sound?

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 Post subject: Re: Robert W. Wood
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:23 pm 
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SamKellner wrote:
Last month, our local paper published an informative article that BobK wrote.

Actually, we all wrote it together.   :clap: :clap: :clap:        I was just the one at the keyboard.    :lol:

SamKellner wrote:
The Editor put it on the front page ok,

Can you save a copy of that paper? I'd love to see how it came out. Maybe you could scan a copy and post it or send it to me. I'd love to see how it looked on the front page.

Either way, good job on getting a positive article about hang gliding on the front page of your local paper!    :thumbup:

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