A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II
The untold story of an eccentric Wall Street tycoon and the circle of scientific geniuses he assembled before World War II to develop the science for radar and the atomic bomb. Together they changed the course of history.
Legendary financier, philanthropist, and society figure Alfred Lee Loomis gathered the most visionary scientific minds of the twentieth century—Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, Enrico Fermi, and others—at his state-of-the-art laboratory in Tuxedo Park, New York, in the late 1930s. He established a top-secret defense laboratory at MIT and personally bankrolled pioneering research into new, high-powered radar detection systems that helped defeat the German Air Force and U-boats. With Ernest Lawrence, the Nobel Prize–winning physicist, he pushed Franklin Delano Roosevelt to fund research in nuclear fission, which led to the development of the atomic bomb.
Jennet Conant, the granddaughter of James Bryant Conant, one of the leading scientific advisers of World War II, enjoyed unprecedented access to Loomis’ papers, as well as to people intimately involved in his life and work. She pierces through Loomis’ obsessive secrecy and illuminates his role in assuring the Allied victory.
Preview ‘Tuxedo Park’
Simon & Schuster | 352 pages | ISBN 9780684872889 | May 2003
“Remarkable and remarkably told, as if F. Scott Fitzgerald had penned Bat Man” —Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
“A brilliant account of the all but vanished reputation of an amateur physicist who became a friend and peer of the greatest scientists of his time.” —Kurt Vonnegut
“Remarkable…the story of a genuinely extraordinary man [told] uncommonly well.” —The Washington Post
“A must read for all fans of World War II history. It will captivate.”—Business Week
“Understanding just how America wins wars is a pressing task these days, which makes the story of Alfred Loomis especially timely — and instructive….[His] remarkable story is being told now only thanks to Ms. Conant, a journalist who combines a graceful writing style with her own family connections to his secretive life.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Jennet Conant’s Tuxedo Park illuminates an important but little-known chapter in American science, and does it with a deft, knowing touch that brings it to life.”—Timothy Ferris