Cover Image


View/Hide Left Panel

the electrical conductivity of ionized gases and later simulated hypersonic heating. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Aeronautical Sciences. I am personally indebted to him for swiftly accepting my papers on ablation heat protection for reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

In 1963, Bill decided it was time for a change. He stepped down as director of the Aero School after 17 years to found and become director of Cornell’s Center of Applied Mathematics. In 1974, he joined the faculty of the University of Arizona in Tucson, where four years later, he was named Professor Emeritus. He remained an active faculty member, however, and completed much of his important analytical and experimental work on adaptive-wall wind tunnels during his retirement.

When he was a junior faculty member at Caltech, he was asked to direct the Civilian Pilot Training Program, a federal program that offered young people the possibility of earning a private pilot’s license and receiving preparation for possible military flying in the event that the United States entered the war. Bill not only administered the program but also took the opportunity to get his own license. His move to Cornell allowed him time to fly. Bill logged some 8,000 hours over his 50 years as a private pilot. He owned several small airplanes over the years, the last one his beloved Piper Twin Comanche.

Bill was also an accomplished musician. As a percussionist, he had worked his way through college as a drummer in dance bands. After moving to California, he was a timpanist with the Pasadena Symphony for a few seasons. Later, at Cornell, he became an expert recorder player with a university group interested in medieval music. He played with the Collegium Musicum at the University of Arizona for 20 years and gave a recorder concert to the Cornell Club of Arizona.

Bill was elected to NAE in 1968. He was also honored by the University of Minnesota, American Society for Engineering Education, Israel Aeronautical Society, American Insitute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Royal Aeronautical Society, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement