Learning Center Our Enshrinees

Theodore von Karman

  • Discovered air drag after seeing an airplane in Paris in 1908.
  • Developed a tethered observation helicopter during World War I.
  • Helped plan the California Institute of Technology’s new Daniel Guggenheim Graduate School of Aeronautics and its Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory in 1926
  • His studies on air turbulence and supersonic drag were major achievements in aviation. His investigations led to the development of Jato rockets to assist heavy aircraft take off and to the first U.S. rocket-powered aircraft in 1941.
  • Founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratories and the Aerojet Engineering Company to develop rocket propulsion systems and missiles.
  • Chaired a Nuclear Weapons Panel after World War II and its report led to the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile.
  • Was the first recipient of the United States National Medal of Science, which President Kennedy presented to him.

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