The First Man To Ever Calculate The Speed Of The Moon using the world’s first lunar radar echo experiments with Project Diana.
born: Sept.. 2, 1914; died Feb. 18, 1995
birthplace: Ore City, Texas
Pre-doctorate education: B.S. (1934) MathematicsWiley College; M.S. (1937) Physics Ohio State University in 1937
Doctorate: Ph.D. Physics (1949) Cornell University
Born in Ore City, Texas, on September 2, 1914, to Luther F McAfee and Suzie A Johnson. Luther McAfee’s father was a minister at a Methodist Episcopal Church South. Luther was also a carpenter by trade.Walter’s mother Suzie was the daughter of a farmer. She came from a family of scholars .Suzie had studied at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, and had qualified as an elementary teacher. Dr. Walter McAfee was the second of nine children.
During World War II, Walter McAfee was a member of the U.S. Army Signal Corp Engineering Laboratories. There he distinguished himself in electromagnetism and radar. He was a member of the Project Diana team that was responsible for the first lunar radar echo experiments in 1946. The goal of Project Diana was to determine if a high frequency radio signal, could penetrate the outer atmosphere of the earth. The solution was to send a radar signal to the moon and bounce it back to earth. For this they needed an accurate computation of the velocity of a position on the moon relative to a position on the earth. Dr. McAfee on 10 January 1946, with the echo from the moon being received 2.5 seconds later.performed the calculations, and on Jan. 10, 1946, the experiment was successfully conducted. Due to his ethnicity unfortunately, McAfee’s contributions to Project Diana were not mentioned in news reports including the New York Times which is very in depth in their current news coverage this was two weeks after .
Dr. McAfee Finally received the recognition years later and his legacy is written in the history of the world eternally.
Dr. McAfee published several papers in the Journal of Applied Physics and in the Journal of Vacuum Science.
McAfee’s Ph.D. was in physics and was supervised by Hans Bethe. He completed the work in 1948 and returned to become Head of the Theoretical Unit of the Nucleonics Section at the U.S. Army Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth. His doctorate was awarded by Cornell in February 1949.In 1953 he became Head of the Electromagnetic Wave Propagation Section. For 42 years he worked for the government at New Jersey”s Fort Monmouth including service as director of a NATO study on surveillance and target acquisition.
Dr. McAfee met his wife Viola in Columbus Ohio in 1935. They wed In 1941 and relocated to South Belmar, New Jersey. Just prior to retirement, in 1985.In the same year he received the Stevens Award from the Stevens Institute of technology.
later years after retirement Dr. McAfee vision was deteriorating due to glaucoma which led to blindness. On Febrary 18, 1995 Dr. McAfee passed away from cancer.
On 28 July 1997 the McAfee Center was dedicated at Fort Monmouth. It was the first facility of its kind named after a civilian.
Dr. McAfee has received many awards as to the following:
Induction into Wiley College’s Science Hall of Fame in 1982.
awarded an honorary doctorate in science from Monmouth University in 1958,
the Steven’s Award from Steven’s Institute of Technology in 1985.
the Rosenwald Fellowship in Nuclear Physics and the Secretary of the Army Fellowship, presented by President Eisenhower at a White House ceremony.
Dr. McAfee is listed in “American Men and Women of Science,” “Who’s Who in the East,” and “Who’s Who Black Americans.