Submitted Successfully!
To reward your contribution, here is a gift for you: A free trial for our video production service.
Thank you for your contribution! You can also upload a video entry or images related to this topic.
Version Summary Created by Modification Content Size Created at Operation
1 handwiki -- 902 2022-12-02 01:55:34

Video Upload Options

Do you have a full video?


Are you sure to Delete?
If you have any further questions, please contact Encyclopedia Editorial Office.
HandWiki. John G. Trump. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 14 June 2024).
HandWiki. John G. Trump. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 14, 2024.
HandWiki. "John G. Trump" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 14, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, December 02). John G. Trump. In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "John G. Trump." Encyclopedia. Web. 02 December, 2022.
John G. Trump
trump electrical million-volt

1. Introduction

John George Trump (August 21, 1907 – February 21, 1985) was an American electrical engineer, inventor, and physicist. He was a recipient of U.S. President Ronald Reagan's National Medal of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.[1][2][3] John Trump was noted for developing rotational radiation therapy.[1] Together with Robert J. Van de Graaff, he developed one of the first million-volt X-ray generators. He was the paternal uncle of the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump.

2. Early Life

Trump was the youngest of three children and the second son of German immigrants Frederick Trump and Elizabeth Christ Trump. He was born in New York City on August 21, 1907.

John's brother, Fred, joined their mother in real estate development and management while still in his teens (Elizabeth Trump & Son). Initially, John and his brother tried working together building houses, but ultimately they dissolved their partnership, and John pursued a career in electrical engineering.

Trump received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the New York University Tandon School of Engineering (then Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn) in 1929, his master's degree in physics from Columbia University, and his doctorate of electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1933. He was a professor at MIT from 1936 until 1973.

3. War Service

During World War II, Trump switched from work on hospital X-ray machines to research into similar technologies with a more direct application to warfare, especially the development of radar. During 1940, he joined the newly formed National Defense Research Committee (NDRC), as technical aide to Karl Compton, President of MIT and the Chairman of the Radar Division.[4]

During 1942, Trump became Secretary of the Microwave Committee, a sub-committee of the NDRC. The director of the Microwave Committee was Alfred Lee Loomis, the millionaire physicist, who decided to create a laboratory. He selected a site for it, chose a suitably discreet and ambiguous name for it and funded the construction, until the Federal administration was established. The new institution was the MIT Radiation Laboratory, or the "Rad Lab". The British were also researching radar, which they termed Radio Direction Finder (RDF), and had started much earlier. Their Tizard Mission to the US showed how much more sophisticated they were with some of the technologies, particularly the magnetron. The US decided to send a team to Britain to help coordinate the efforts of the two Allies. The unit was known as the "British Branch of the Radiation Laboratory" (BBRL) and operated as a department of Britain's Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) at Malvern, in Worcestershire. In 1943, as the technical aide in Division 14 of the NDRC, Trump reviewed and analyzed the papers of Nikola Tesla when the inventor died in a New York City hotel. The research was completed on behalf of the Alien property Custodian office in Washington DC. From February 1944 to the end of the war in Europe, Trump was the Director of the BBRL.[5]

During this time, Trump also served in the Advisory Specialist Group on Radar, advising USAAF General Carl Spaatz on navigational radar, precision-bombing radar, and also defenses against the German radars found in their night-fighters and in their flak units. The systems included: Gee, Oboe, LORAN, H2X, MEW & SCR-584. Trump worked with all the most important British radar experts, including Sir Robert Watson-Watt, A.P. Rowe and Bernard Lovell. At the end of the war, Trump also had interviews with Germany's main radar technicians. Trump received recognition for his war-work from both the United States and the United Kingdom.

4. Family

John G. Trump married Elora Sauerbrun (1913–1983), and they had three children: the late John Gordon Trump (1938–2012) of Watertown, Massachusetts; Christine Philp of New London, New Hampshire; and Karen Ingraham of Los Alamos, New Mexico; and six grandchildren.[1][6] His nephew Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States in 2017.

5. Later Life

During 1946 Trump, Robert J. Van de Graaff, and Denis M. Robinson initiated the High Voltage Engineering Corporation (HVEC) to produce Van de Graaff generators.[1]

He returned to MIT to teach and direct research for three decades after the war. Trump died in Boston on February 21, 1985.[7]

The National Academy of Engineering described Trump as "a pioneer in the scientific, engineering and medical applications of high voltage machinery".[2] James Melcher, Trump's lab director, is quoted as saying: "John, over a period of three decades, would be approached by people of all sorts because he could make megavolt beams of ions and electrons – death rays. ... What did he do with it? Cancer research, sterilizing sludge out in Deer Island [a waste disposal facility], all sorts of wondrous things. He didn't touch the weapons stuff."[8]

6. Awards and Honors

Trump received a number of awards including:

  • 1947: The King's Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom (KMS), given by George VI[1]
  • 1948: The President's Certificate of Merit, presented by President Harry S. Truman[1]
  • 1960: The Lamme Medal, given by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers[1]
  • 1983: The National Medal of Science, presented by President Ronald Reagan[1]
Further Reading
In this part, we encourage you to list the link of papers wrote by the character, or published reviews/articles about his/her academic contributions. Edit


  1. "JOHN TRUMP DIES - ENGINEER WAS 78". 1985-02-26. Retrieved 2016-12-24. 
  2. "John George Trump | Memorial Tributes: National Academy of Engineering, Volume 3 | The National Academies Press". doi:10.17226/1384. Retrieved 2016-12-24. 
  3. "The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details | NSF - National Science Foundation". Retrieved 2016-12-24. 
  4. "J. G. Trump - Engineering and Technology History Wiki". 2016-01-29. Retrieved 2016-12-24. 
  5. "Private Papers of Dr J G Trump (Documents.4461)". 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2016-12-24. 
  6. "John Gordon Trump". The Boston Globe. September 27, 2012. 
  7. "Eric Dubois: Academic Genealogy". Retrieved 2016-12-24. 
  8. Science for the People, January/February 1988, p25, Retrieved 2016-11-4.
Name: John G. Trump
Born: Aug 1907
Died: Feb 1985
New York City , U.S.
Titles: Eelectrical engineer Inventor Physicist
Affiliation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Honors: King's Medal for Service (1947) President's Certificate (1948) Lamme Medal (1960) National Medal of Science (1983)
Subjects: Others
Contributor MDPI registered users' name will be linked to their SciProfiles pages. To register with us, please refer to :
View Times: 1.2K
Entry Collection: HandWiki
Revision: 1 time (View History)
Update Date: 02 Dec 2022
Video Production Service