June 27, 1901-May 20, 1982


MERLE ANTONY TUVE WAS a leading scientist of his times. He joined with Gregory Breit in the first use of pulsed radio waves in the measurement of layers in the ionosphere. Together with Lawrence R. Hafstad and Norman P. Heydenburg he made the first and definitive measurements of the proton-proton force at nuclear distances. During World War II he led in the development of the proximity fuze that stopped the buzz bomb attack on London, played a crucial part in the Battle of the Bulge, and enabled naval ships to ward off Japanese aircraft in the western Pacific. Following World War II he served for twenty years as director of the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, where, in addition to supporting a multifaceted program of research, he personally made important contributions to experimental seismology, radio astronomy, and optical astronomy.

Tuve was a dreamer and an achiever, but he was more than that. He was a man of conscience and ideals. Throughout his life he remained a scientist whose primary motivation was the search for knowledge but a person whose zeal was tempered by a regard for the aspirations of other humans.

Merle Tuve was born in Canton, South Dakota, on June

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement