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aerodynamics - more than just rocket engines

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One of my mentors, Dr. William R. Waldrop, was in the US Air Force working at Lockheed when NASA was developing the Saturn V booster. Lockheed had promised NASA to deliver a 3D CFD model of the five-engine booster but hadn't yet delivered and weren't sure how. Bill Waldrop and Dr. Frank Tatom accomplished this feat in the days of mainframes and punch cards. Each weekend they would bring NASA's biggest computer to its knees. Bill wanted to pursue a Ph.D. but couldn't find a university that would allow him to extend the work in aerodynamics. Instead, he got a position at LSU to work on, "Three-Dimensional Flow and Sediment Transport at River Mouths" (the Mississippi delta). Consider this statement from the Acknowledgement section of his dissertation... "Much of the credit for this accomplishment should go to Drs. R. C. Farmer and J. C. Coleman for advice and guidance during this effort and for having the confidence in an aerodynamisist who had the audacity to enter two new fields at the PhD level." When Bill was the Assistant Director of the TVA Engineering Laboratory, he hired me to work on power plants. His breadth of understanding of fluid flow guided a diverse array of projects and many publications. I highly recommend teams comprised of members with different backgrounds when solving difficult problems.


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