Secrecy veils U laboratories engaged in defense research

Bill Caldwell

Minnesota has become one of America’s great national defense research centers, but only confidential reports closely guarded in administration files can tell how great.
The air of secrecy lingers over many offices and laboratories. It is almost impossible to get into some of the smaller laboratories in the main engineering, chemistry and physics buildings. Professors and assistants will say nothing about certain projects, even to colleagues.
Work in these laboratories has been quietly shifted from peace-time experiments to defense projects.
Ways to increase efficiency of pilots flying at high altitude are being studied by Dr. Gerald Evans. Other defense research in the Medical School includes: scientific rations for America’s soldiers; bovine blood as a substitute for human blood in serums and transfusions; concentration and preservation of such serums and blood substitutes; nutrition’s part in defense and a study of a method for locating neurotic or psychopathic draftees.
If the hungry maws of steel mills don’t get enough ore it won’t be the Institute of Technology’s fault, for numerous research projects have been completed or are underway to insure an expanding supply of steel.
These projects include: improved methods for obtaining manganese necessary to purify steel; a new device for recording temperature of molten iron and steel, already in use in defense industries; a new low-cost steel hardening process; and a new process to produce hydrogen, vital chemical in manufacturing explosives, from Northwest lignite.
High frequency code transmission and solutions for communication problems are being worked out by the electrical engineering department.
Aeronautical engineering projects underway are an investigation of gas pressure in gas ring grooves, use of equipment for feeding oxygen to airplanes for high altitude work, use of magnesium alloy as structural material for aircraft, and design of radio mechanisms for recording atmospheric conditions.
Business school research includes a study of United States economic relations abroad and special unemployment studies.
Another phase of nutrition in defense, the farmer’s contribution, is being studied by the agriculture department. Dr. Clyde Bailey, vice director of the Ag experiment station, is seeking to establish definite vitamin standards in foods.