Tuesday, November 12, 2013
5:00 pm
Guggenheim 101 (Lees-Kubota Lecture Hall)

Free Public Lecture

Theodore von Kármán and Rocketry at Caltech
Erik M. Conway, Historian, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Theodore von Kármán's death. Born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary in 1881, von Kármán emigrated to the United States in 1930, joining the faculty of the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at Caltech, where he remained until 1944. He then gradually moved to Washington, DC., to head the Air Force's Scientific Advisory Group. He was ultimately awarded the first Medal of Science by President Kennedy in 1963 and was the first director of JPL. In this talk, the story of von Kármán's life in aeronautics, engineering, and science, will be revealed - with a particular focus on his role in founding JPL.

But JPL was the result of only one of two rocket projects at Caltech during World War II. The other, founded by Charles Lauritsen of the Physics Department, ultimately resulted in the founding of what was once the Naval Ordnance Test Station, now the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station. This talk will explore these two major projects, and von Kármán's role in fostering American rocketry.

Refreshments will be avaliable at 4:30 PM.

Contact Michele Judd mjudd@kiss.caltech.edu at 626-395-6630
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