Physicist, Engineer, Inventor (1893 – 1986)
Pavlos Santorinis was a physicist, civil engineer and professor of experimental physics in the National Polytechnic School of Athens. He was one of the most important researchers and inventors of the 20th century, with expertise in numerous fields such as statistics, electromagnetic waves, hydraulics and energy from natural resources. He is most widely known today as the inventor of the radar.
Santorinis published over 100 original scientific research papers in the most presitgious French and German science journals. Among his most notable contributions were the discovery of the discontinuous internal deformation of concrete and its experimental proof, the measurement of elastic oscillations of metallic bridge using electronic layouts which he himself invented, the discovery of new phenomena of electrons and electromagnetic waves and the invention of a device that measured the wavelength of very low frequency electromagnetic waves. In 1936 he formulated the principle of bomb explosion above the ground’s surface in a given height, which was applied by the Americans during the bombing of Hiroshima. The same year, Santorinis invented the fuze, upon which was based the Proximity Fuze used by the Allied Forces in 1944, termed “the 2nd most dangerous weapon in America”.
From 1936 to 1940, Pavlos Santorinis developed one of the most groundbreaking inventions known to man, the radar. Developed only a few years earlier than Robert Watson Watt’s radar, the Hellenic Radar, as it came to be known, was an ecatostometric radar, meaning it had the ability to detect electromagnetic waves with wavelength ranging from 5 cm to 200 km. In 1940 the radar successfully detected the first aircraft, which was a British airplane travelling over Melos, 160 km away. Santorinis’ invention revolutionized the airforce. Prior to the radar, the airforce relied on watchers with binoculars and rudimentary acoustic instruments for the detection of enemy aircrafts. Santorinis’ radar enabled the army to detect enemy aircrafts from very long distances and track the enemy’s movements safely and in secrecy. Upon its first successful operation, Ioannis Metaxas passed the blueprints to the British government, resulting in the radar’s debut in the Second World War in 1942.
Following his success with the radar, Santorinis accomplished the production of electromagnetic waves beyond the visible specturm while in 1942 he invented the “Electronic Brain H” (Ἠλεκτρονικὸς Ἐγκέφαλος Η), a complex system that enabled the automatic piloting of missiles against a moving object. The device’s full potential was only realized in 1953, when it was utilized by the US and was named “Nike” meaning Victory. He had numerous other scientific achievements, namely improving the usage methods of solar energy and wind energy for various applications.
Pavlos Santorinis was also cocnerned with theoretical and sometimes philosophical aspects of physics. In 1968 he formulated the theory of multiple successive micro-explosions of the universe, which came to overthrow the Big Bang theory while in 1974 he hypothesized a new principle, that of “The Declining Entropy of the Universe”. Santorinis was also a personal friend of Albert Einstein; he would solve him various mathematical and physics problems that Einstein couldn’t. He spoke 6 languages and taught in multiple universities both inside and outside of Greece.
Even though today Pavlos Santorinis’ name is not as well-known as would be expected, he received widespread recognition worldwide and was celebrated internationally. He was the recipient of the Fermat Prize by the Academy of Sciences of Toulouse in 1961, the Vermeil Prize by the Academy of Sciences of Paris in 1968 and 1969, and the French Society of Progress prize in 1969. The same year, the British awarded Santorinis for his invention of the radar, acknowledging that he invented it 4 years before them. Finally, Santorinis was awarded the Order of the Phoenix by the royal family of Greece. He died in 1986 at the age of 93.
- Ἀϋφαντῆς, Γεώργιος. Ἄνθρωπος καὶ Ἐπιστήμη Τόμος Α’: Ἐνημέρωσις. Ἐκδόσεις Ἑλληνικὸν Σέλας. Ἀθῆναι: 2009. Print.
- Παύλος Σαντορίνης, ο Ἕλληνας που ανακάλυψε το ραντάρ. Δίοδος, Η Πύλη της Γνώσης. Diodos.gr. May 15, 2019. Web.
- Σαντορίνης Παῦλος. Μεγάλη Στοὰ τῆς Ἑλλάδος. Grandlodge.gr. May 15, 2019. Web.
- Spanopoulos. B.A. “Pavlos Santorinis”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens: 1946. Print.