Feeds

Wernher Von Braun's 1934 PhD thesis auctioned

Declassified early work of Nazi/NASA rocket granddaddy

High performance access to file storage

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." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.