Feeds

Wernher Von Braun's 1934 PhD thesis auctioned

Declassified early work of Nazi/NASA rocket granddaddy

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The original classified top-secret PhD thesis of famed Nazi and NASA rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun is to be auctioned in New York today.

Von Braun, as most Reg readers will be aware, grew up in pre-war Germany. In 1934 he wrote a 166-page PhD dissertation on, erm, rocket science. The document won the young Von Braun his doctorate without trouble, but it was considered to be a critical military secret by the Nazi authorities. As a result it didn't get published.

Doktor Von Braun went on to become the leading designer of the German V2 rocket, generally considered to be the first proper ballistic missile. The V2 was well in advance of most other rocket programmes of the era, and gave the Nazis the ability to bombard London unanswerably (though very inaccurately).

The V2 development team and all their files were seized by the Americans at the end of the European war, and Von Braun went to work for the US rocket programme. He eventually became head of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Centre, and was a key figure in the Apollo moonshot programme. The former Waffen-SS officer and grandfather of the US space programme died in 1977.

Von Braun's 1934 thesis was declassified by the Americans in 1960. Until now the original document - complete with its author's handwritten amendments, charts and graphs - remained in possession of one of his old comrades from the Nazis' Peenemunde rocket factory.

"Von Braun's revolutionary dissertation changed the course of world history," said Catherine Williamson of the auctioneers Bonhams, quoted by the Guardian. "It allows the reader a rare glimpse into the beginning of a great career." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?