Soaking In Success

Lonnie Johnson had come home to tinker again. In 1982 the young nuclear scientist spent his days developing advanced space systems for the Strategic Air Command. At night, while his wife and kids slept upstairs, he used mathematic and scientific formulas to launch his own dreams from the basement. He had built a model of a heat pump that used water instead of unfriendly Freon. Attaching a homemade nozzle to the end of tubing and connecting it to his bathroom sink, he carefully turned on the water. It shot out a stream so powerful that its air currents ruffled the curtains....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!