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Distinguished Graduate: Paul Springer


Paul Springer, BSEE '39, received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Ohio University in 1939. He later pursued graduate courses at M.I.T., The Ohio State University, University of Dayton, University of Colorado, and University of Michigan.

Springer began his career at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, in 1942. Working in the aircraft radio laboratory on the development of electronic equipment, he designed antennas for U.S. fighter aircraft that used British-made radar. Springer also was the project engineer for radar and antenna systems used on both atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 during World War II.

In his career at Wright Patterson Air Force base and in other work at universities and commercial laboratories, Springer established programs to reduce radar cross-section. Radar cross-section measures how much radio wave is “reflected” off an airplane to give its location; the less reflection, or radar cross-section, the more difficult it is for radar to “see” the airplane. These programs ultimately were a major factor in the development of the Stealth bomber and Stealth fighter aircraft.

Springer also directed a group researching tropospheric propagation – how radio waves are affected by the lower atmosphere, or troposphere, as they travel from a transmitter to a receiver. This work included the development of microwave refractometers to predict anomalies. Springer also helped research radar cross-section and re-entry propagation, or how radio waves travel from intercontinental ballistic missiles when re-entering the earth's atmosphere.

Before retiring from Wright Patterson in 1974 after what he calls a “most interesting career,” Springer last consulted for the avionics laboratory on radio propagation, antennas, and radar cross-section reduction techniques. After retirement, he served as a private consultant to the U.S. Air Force, designing, developing, and testing an advanced radar antenna system for use on the F-15 aircraft.


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