From Campus to Cockpit: Duke During World War II

Duke During Wartime: Research and Engagement


Dr. Paul M. Gross spearheaded an effort by the Chemistry Department to create a “frangible bullet” which would break up upon impact, enabling American soldiers to perform shooting drills on actual aircraft. Other research projects at Duke included ways to control venereal disease and studying the effects of Vitamin B deprivation.


The Civilian Pilot Training Program allowed citizens to take basic flying classes. Organized locally by Duke Administrative Assistant, A.S. Brower, the CPTP held sessions at the Raleigh Airport. Many CPTP participants were later drafted or volunteered for service in World War II.

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