(A parenthetical note here that I know Joe would want me to include. At the time, Professor Yuster had been at UCLA for just a few years, and he headed relatively modest projects. Yet within that short time span, he produced three graduate students who would later be elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering. Sadly, Professor Yuster passed away from brain cancer in 1958, a few years before the NAE was chartered. Still three engineers, including Joe Miller, all know that they owe their success to the care that Professor Yuster gave them.)
With the passing of Professor Yuster and the lack of sustained state funding, the principal graduate students started to seek different specializations. Joe received his B.S. in engineering (at the time UCLA had no departments and awarded only general engineering degrees—a practice that now is being revived with the many multidisciplinary centers at a lot of U.S. campuses). Joe elected to pursue nuclear engineering, which at the time seemed very promising. He received his M.S. degree in engineering, with nuclear specialization.
Meanwhile, we discovered a match for Joe, a young lady, Judy Peckler, who worked as an administrative assistant in the dean’s office, which conveniently happened to be located on the same floor and hallway as the research lab where Joe worked. It seemed that introducing them to each other would be a good idea. To my surprise, the relationship flowered, and Judy and Joe were married in 1959.
Following a short enlistment in the U.S. Army, Joe returned to UCLA to get a Ph.D. in general engineering, with a nuclear option, which he was awarded in 1961. Armed with a Ph.D. in the nuclear field, Joe joined Atomics International and worked for eight years on liquid metal reactors, an advanced class of power reactors cooled with liquid alkali metals. Unfortunately, these reactors became a victim of federal budget pressures and environmental litigation. Joe still had his job at Atomics International, but he started to look for one with more immediate potential. As it happened, a job was waiting for him at TRW, Inc. He joined TRW in 1964.
The Apollo Mission to land a man on the Moon and safely