1932 and 1933. From there he went to the California Institute of Technology, where he earned his Ph.D. in physics in 1936 summa cum laude.
Wooldridge was always a “quick study.” Simon Ramo commented that when he saw Wooldridge perform in their first class at Caltech, he was no longer surprised at how young Dean was when he received his M.S., but rather wondered what had taken him so long. He supposed it was because Wooldridge had toyed with several majors, including law, before he settled on physics. Wooldridge was not slow socially either. He married Helene Detweiler when he graduated Caltech in 1936.
Beginning with their meeting in that first class at Caltech, Wooldridge and Ramo began a friendship, and later a partnership, that delivered much to our national defense. However, after graduation from Caltech, their friendship remained personal, rather than professional. Wooldridge went to Bell Labs, where he became an acknowledged expert in electromagnetic theory, essential to the enormous surge in new technologies during World War II. He led a group at Bell Labs that developed the first airborne computers. At the same time, Ramo went to work for General Electric (GE) in New York, where he too contributed significantly to technological advances that supported the military during the war.
During the war, Woodridge went to Europe to instruct bombardiers on how to use the computers. He traveled via South America and Africa to avoid the possibility of anti-aircraft from ships in the North Atlantic. The family at home traced his trip on a National Geographic map of the world.
When the war ended, most of the country was ready to get back to normal as quickly as possible. Both GE and AT&T wanted to get back to their commercial customers, who had been sidetracked first by the Depression and then the war. However, Ramo saw a future in the defense establishment, which was facing new problems, even during demobilization. The Soviet Union had already begun to pursue its interests, with the help of the still large Red Army. More important, Ramo foresaw that the Soviet Union would develop an atomic bomb sooner rather than later and that the defense of the United