William R. Sears

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William Rees Sears (March 1, 1913 - October 12, 2002) was a notable aeronautical engineer and educator. William R. Sears was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of William and Gertrude Sears. He earned his BS degree from the University of Minnesota in 1934. Following this, he enrolled at Caltech to study under Theodore von Kármán, director of the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory (GALCIT). There he met von Kármán's secretary, Mabel Rhodes and they were soon married. Sears was awarded his PhD in 1938, writing a thesis concerning airfoils in non-steady motion, a work that laid the foundations for future developments in that field. In 1937, Sears was appointed instructor in aeronautics at Caltech, and in 1940, he was promoted to assistant professor. Several of his colleagues in these years included Qian Xuesen and Frank Malina. Through von Kármán’s friendship with Jack Northrop, Sears became involved in consulting on aerodynamic problems at Northrop Aircraft In 1941, Sears accepted Jack Northrop’s offer to be chief of aerodynamics and flight testing. When Sears was a junior faculty member at Caltech, he was asked to direct the Civilian Pilot Training Program, a federal program  ( Wikipedia article )


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Known as
William Sears
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Institution From To
California Institute of Technology
University of Minnesota


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