Feeds

Wernher Von Braun's 1934 PhD thesis auctioned

Declassified early work of Nazi/NASA rocket granddaddy

Security for virtualized datacentres

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." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
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.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.