The Roots of Progress

Scientists Against Time

James Phinney Baxter

The official history of the OSRD (Office of Scientific Research and Development), the military research organization created during World War 2. I picked this up in the early months of the covid pandemic, so I was focused on the chapter relevant to medical research: penicillin, antimalarial drugs, blood handling and substitutes, and better pest control (insecticides and rodenticides). Other chapters cover many more technologies, such as the DUKW and the proximity fuze. A case study in how R&D can make progress fast.

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