Milestone-Proposal talk:Sonar, 100th birthday of Paul Langevin Invention 1917-2017

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Expert reviews uploaded on behalf of proposer by Administrator4 -- Administrator4 (talk) 19:11, 18 March 2022 (UTC)[edit | reply | new]

The following comments and suggestions were submitted by two experts in the field in response to a request from LDF. William D. O’Brien, Jr. Donald Biggar Willett Professor Emeritus University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

You (LDF) asked our opinion on the following questions:

The proposed “The Invention of Sonar” is most appropriate provide that Langevin’s name is explicitly recognized and included in this plaque title. You are correct that there were others suggesting pulse-echo detection schemes (mainly in patent applications); most notably were the inventor of FM and superheterodyne circuit Edward Howard Armstrong, an AIEE Edison Medal recipient; and the inventor of the Fessenden oscillator or Fathometer Reginald Aubrey Fessenden that operated in the audio frequency range (~500 Hz) but was never promoted seriously for its echo-ranging capabilities. And there is Ernest Rutherford who is mentioned in the application. All four, Langevin included, clearly had the concept of sonar (echo ranging) in mind, Armstrong and Fessenden for mainly iceberg detection, and Rutherford and Langevin for submarine detection. Of these four uniquely clever engineers, Langevin was the most targeted and successful at developing a workable sonar capability. Rutherford had the right idea except for his lack of understanding orientated crystalline structure did not allow him to generate a functioning sonar system. The credit has to be given to Langevin who had an exceptional understood and developed the echo-ranging capability successfully with his in-depth physical knowledge (a great leap!) of the piezoelectric effect, knowledge that Rutherford lacked.

Alfred C. H. Yu, PhD, FAIUM Professor, NSERC Steacie Fellow Editor in Chief, IEEE Transactions on UFFC Laboratory on Innovative Technology in Medical Ultrasound (LITMUS) University of Waterloo OVERALL COMMENTS This narrative is generally a strong laudation of Professor Paul Langevin and his seminal contributions to sonar technology. There was a reasonable justification for why Langevin's work should be considered as very significant because of practical wartime needs during WWI. The technical obstacles were also qualitatively elaborated in some detail. Nevertheless, there is quite a bit of room for improvement to enhance the narrative. In particular, authors should contrast Langevin's achievements more explicitly in a few different contexts. Specific suggestions for improvement are given below to each of the three main sections of the narrative.


A) Historical Significance Section 1. Authors should explicitly highlight the fact that the period beginning around 1916 is well considered as the start of modern ultrasonics development. Langevin is a core contributor and trailblazer. The current passage seems to have focused too much on the social and geopolitical motivations behind Langevin's work (e.g. sinking of Titanic, WWI, submarine warfare, etc).

2. Throughout this section, there is no mentioning of the word "sonar". It is not obvious to lay readers whether Langevin's "ultrasound detection device" is indeed a sonar device or not. Please fix.

3. The scientific significance of Langevin's research work needs to be explicitly acknowledged with respect to the history of ultrasonics. Since his seminal contributions mark the start of the modern ultrasonics era, it would be helpful to explain how Langevin's work has transformed the previous scientific era that focused on the fundamental physics of piezoelectricity (discoveries by the Curie brothers) and acoustic wave propagation (Rayleigh and his two-volume treatise entitled "The Theory of Sound").

B) Obstacles Section 1. It wasn't clear whether there are political and geographic obstacles that needed to be overcome. Indeed there are, given that Langevin's work was done during WWI. See the following article that discussed in detail the political struggle between Langevin and the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors regarding the sonar patent dispute:

D. Zimmerman, "'A more credible way': the discovery of active sonar, the Langevin-Chilowsky patent dispute and the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors", War in History, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 48-68, 2018.

2. It is unfair for the authors to downplay the significance of Chilowsky's contributions to sonar. He and Langevin were obviously the co-inventors on both patents (with equal contributions). It is true that Chilowsky moved on to pursue other interests shortly after 1916, but without Chilowsky's initial proposal and his subsequent short collaboration with Langevin, the latter would not have demonstrated echo detection in 1917,

3. In the Technical Obstacle subsection, there is an obvious error in the date. September 2016 should be September 1916 instead in the sentence "In September 2016 he considered using piezoelectricity for detection of sound waves..."

4. There is a lack of tangible mentioning on the performance achievements gained from Langevin's customized cutting of quartz crystals and their use to develop a sandwich transducer (the Langevin triplet). It was well demonstrated back then that a system of piezoelectric quartz plates mounted to the two sides of a steel disc was able to project a beam of ultrasound waves that had a wave frequency of 150 kHz and a power output of 1 kW. The authors can even add remarks to substantiate what is the practical impact of this achieved power output. For instance, when this ultrasound beam was insonated into a water tank, all the small fishes that tried to swim across the beam were immediately killed. Also, an instant painful burning sensation was felt when a person’s hand was held in the vicinity of the ultrasound beam.

C) Unique Features Section 1. Again, throughout this section, there is no mentioning of the word "sonar". Also, it is not clear how Langevin's work is unique and distinguished from similar achievements.

2. For contrast, authors should explain how Langevin's sonar device development is very different from other contemporary ways that were explored back then, such as the training of sea lions for submarine detection.

Re: Expert reviews uploaded on behalf of proposer by Administrator4 -- Bberg (talk) 17:18, 19 May 2022 (UTC)[edit | reply | new]

I think that the above has been responded to within the proposal. If this was indeed the case, the proposer should have provided a reply noting this fact.

Comments on Details Provided and Citation -- Bberg (talk) 22:41, 22 April 2022 (UTC)[edit | reply | new]

First, the details provided in the (1) historical significance, (2) what obstacles, and (3) what features sections are rich in content. However, please break these into more paragraphs to make them more easily read and appreciated. It may also be helpful to add one or two boldfaced subsection labels within these sections as well.

The "1915-1918" dates do not match the citation, which only cites through 1917. Either change 1918 to 1917 in the title, or incorporate 1918 into the citation.

While the citation reads very nicely, I suggest these minor changes:
1. change "Here" to "At this location" at the very start since this reads more smoothly (and you have the room to make this change)
2. remove the commas that precede and follow "(later known as sonar)"
3. add a comma after Biscay
4. change "world war" to "World War"
5. remove "also" from the last sentence as it really is not necessary

Re: Comments on Details Provided and Citation -- Bberg (talk) 17:20, 19 May 2022 (UTC)[edit | reply | new]

It's unfortunate that my comments made 4 weeks ago have received no reply.

Also, the proposal lacks the necessary "Justification for Inclusion of Name(s) in the Citation" section as required by History Committee rules. Importantly, as Dr. Yu (the second Expert Reviewer) noted "It is unfair for the authors to downplay the significance of Chilowsky's contributions to sonar," this raises the unanswered issue of whether it is appropriate to include Langevin's name without also including Chilowsky's name in the citation.

Re: Re: Comments on Details Provided and Citation -- Bleridon (talk) 07:04, 1 June 2022 (UTC)[edit | reply | new]

Dear Bbreg,

Sorry for having missed your comments five weeks ago. I now followed your suggestions and made the appropriate modifications. Please let me know if you want to bring additional changes. Regarding the contribution from Chilowsky: While it is certain that Chilowsky was at the origin of the idea of using ultrasound, the practical realization that led to a working device and a successful invention was due to the use of piezoelectricity for which Langevin is entirely creditable. This is why we are in favor of keeping the citation as it is. But of course Chilowsky's contribution is largely acknowledged in the text (as well as Marcel Tournier's and Fernand Holweck's). I included an appropriate justification in this sense. Please feel free to comment on it. With best regards


Correspondence with experts uploaded by Advocate -- Feisel (talk) 14:24, 9 June 2022 (UTC)[edit | reply | new]

Correspondence with experts. June 2 – 8, 2022

Lyle Feisel to Alfred C. H. Yu and William O’Brien.

The proposer has proposed a new citation:

At this location, from 1915 to 1918, Paul Langevin designed a submarine detector using piezoelectric quartz crystal transceivers, following the idea by Constantin Chilowsky’s of using ultrasounds. This improved method for submarine ultrasonic echo detection (later known as sonar) obtained 4000-meter echo soundings from the cable ship Charente in the Bay of Biscay, and was later successfully used during World War II. Echo sounding led to other applications such as medical echography.

It might need a little tidying up, but it does address the role of Chilowski. What do think? Would you endorse this version? I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks again for your help.

Response from Alfred Yu

I think the new citation is generally OK and it does address the role of Chilowski. I endorse this version. Though the title of the proposed milestone will need to be refined as well. "Paul Langevin's Invention of Sonar, 1915-1918" does not seem appropriate given Chilowski's indispensable role in this invention.

Response from William O’Brien

I’m not in compete agreement that Chilowski’s name should be recognized. Others like Reginald Fessenden in 1914 actually demonstrated iceberg echo ranging so the idea of acoustic detection was already out there well before the demonstrated proof by Langevin (not sure the word “ultrasound” was used in the technical literature then). FYI, my lack of complete agreement, however, is weak and not worth even a scientific argument if the French want to include Chilowski’s name in the citation.

Lyle Feisel response to Yu and O’Brien

Thanks very much for your comments. I will combine them into comments for the proposal page.

Alfred, I’m sure that will not be the title of the milestone. That is a working title. My guess is that it will be something like “The Invention of Sonar”.