University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Engineering Department Dynamics and Vibration Tea Time Talks > Logie Baird's Mechanical TV and Hitler's V3 Super Gun

Logie Baird's Mechanical TV and Hitler's V3 Super Gun

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The first night of scheduled BBC TV in 1936 was quite an event. John Logie Baird’s spinning disc camera was an extraordinary contraption. From 1929 to 1932, the BBC broadcast television using a 30-line Baird system. On 3 November 1936 Baird’s 240-line system was put in direct competition with EMI /Marconi’s electronic scanning system. After a 6-month trial the electronic system won out. This talk will explore some of the features of Logie Baird’s system – with a view to building a working replica. If anyone is interested in getting involved in the rebuild then this is a good place to start!

Only eight years later in 1944 Hitler was building another extraordinary contraption – the largest gun ever, the V3, designed to fire shells at London from a massive emplacement in a hillside on the French coast. In a race to knock out the supergun, the Allies dreamt up their own hi-tech weapons. The Americans devised a remote-controlled heavy bomber packed with explosives (an operation in which the man “born to be president”, Joe Kennedy Jr, died), while the British drafted in Barnes Wallis, the genius behind the bouncing bomb. His idea? A weapon that would trigger an earthquake. The second part of this talk is based on the Channel Four documentary on the subject and will describe the experiments preformed to determine how the weapon worked and whether it could have fulfilled its intended purpose.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Dynamics and Vibration Tea Time Talks series.

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