Institute for Telecommunication Sciences / July 1907

July 1907: John Howard Dellinger Begins his NBS Career

On July 3, 1907, John Howard Dellinger was officially appointed to the National Bureau of Standards. S.W. Stratton, the director of the Bureau, met with Dellinger and recommended him to the post of Laboratory Assistant in a letter to the Secretary of Commerce and Labor. Dellinger began his duties on his 21st birthday. After a few years of service he took a sabbatical to attain his PhD., but returned to the Bureau on its completion. Dellinger rose through the Bureau ranks quickly, becoming the Chief of the Radio Section in 1919, and gaining the nickname Dr. D from his staff. He remained head of the laboratory, which grew into the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory, until 1948 when he retired. During his tenure he published over 140 papers in his own name, primarily on radio propagation and interference, but also on subjects ranging from electrical impedance to Planck's constant. Dellinger directed the work of the Radio Section from its rapid growth in the 1920s, through World War II when the Bureau was immersed in inventing and testing military technology. Dellinger is known for his leadership role in international organizations such as the IRE, the IEEE, USRI, and CCIR (precursor to ITU-R). The Dellinger Effect, which he described, and the Dellinger crater on the moon are named in his honor. ITS leadership continues to follow in Dellinger's footsteps, publishing independently, mentoring other researchers, supporting international cooperation, and widely disseminating the results of their research to the public.