The history of the development of thermal radiation heat transfer is reviewed from the early studies of the characteristics of radiation through the recognition of the infrared portion of the spectrum, Maxwell’s equations, and on to Planck’s derivation of the blackbody energy spectrum and the impact of that analysis on the development of modern physics. More recent developments and applications in response to important applications in spacecraft, propulsion systems, high temperature systems, manufacturing, and contemporary microscale systems are reviewed, and the rapid development of the field during the last half of the 20th century is outlined. Present and emerging research areas are briefly reviewed.

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