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Memorial Tributes, Volume 14
GEORGE E. SOLOMON
Elected in 1967
“For design and development of space and weapon systems.”
BY GERARD W. ELVERUM
GEORGE E. SOLOMON, brilliant scientist, engineer, and retired leader of one of the nation’s premier astronautics technology and spacecraft products organizations, died on April 25, 2005.
George was born in Ballard, Washington, on July 14, 1925. In high school he was already focusing on engineering and took extra math and physics courses for college credit. He graduated from Ballard High School in 1942 and started attending the University of Washington. World War II interrupted his education plans when he volunteered at age 18 for the U.S. Army. He was severely wounded in 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge after volunteering to carry ammunition forward through heavy mortar fire to front-line infantry troops. Those injuries resulted in the loss of his right leg. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his heroic action, along with the Purple Heart.
After nearly a year of recovery and therapy in army hospitals, George returned to the University of Washington and earned a B.S. degree with honors in aeronautical engineering in 1949. He was accepted at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he awarded an M.S. in 1950. For the next two years he studied under legendary Caltech aeronautics professor Hans Liepman and received his Ph.D. magna cum laude in 1952. Published in 1953, his thesis, “Transonic Flow