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Past Guggenheim Medalists

Welcome to the searchable collection of past Guggenheim Medalist Biographies.

Use the search box to the right to locate past medalists by name or year. Your search results will appear in a list below the search box. To view a medalists biography, click their thumbnail or name displayed in the search results list.


View a listing of Past Medalists.     Guggenheim%20past%20Medalists.pdf


Medalist For 1980
For his outstanding contribu­tions to the management con­cepts for the development of complex aerospace systems, and for his significant person­al accomplishments in the design and production of a long line of the world’s most fa­mous commercial and military aircraft.

In Harold Mansfield’s history of Boeing, Vision, the name of Ed Wells is men­tioned no fewer than 51 times.

The first reference involves the day he was working on the flap design for Boeing’s first four-engine bomber, the B-299. A fellow engineer suggested that maybe the big plane didn’t need flaps—it would have excellent brakes. Wells produced data showing that with flaps, the bomber could carry a one-ton greater load on takeoffs and landings—the flaps stayed on, and the 299 evolved into the famed B-17.

He was merely an assistant project engineer at the time, only a few years out of Stanford University. But even then, the work of this quiet, studious aeronautical engineer was known throughout the company for its thoroughness and objectivity; the incident Mansfield described was typical of the way he approached any prob­lem—with cool logic and facts.

Wells was an instigator and innovator as well as a researcher. He first conceived the idea for the jet bomber that became the B-47, and he was largely responsible for the B-307 Stratoliner, the world’s first pressurized airliner. The 707 was Ed Wells’ baby, too, as he climbed the company’s executive ladder into a succession of vice presidential posts that involved civil transports, military projects and space activi­ties.

He was named vice president of Product Development in 1966 but took a leave of absence in the 1969-70 academic year to serve as visiting professor in Stanford’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. When he returned to Boeing, he was named senior vice president-Technical and stayed in that capacity until his retire­ment January 1, 1972.

This native son of Boise, Idaho, who went to work for Boeing part-time when he was still in college served Boeing as a consultant until 1986, with the 757 and 767 transports carrying the input of his vast experience and sagacity.

The “Elder Statesman of Aviation,” a title bestowed on him by the national Aeronautic Association, died in 1986 in Bellevue, Washington.


For information, contact Daniel Guggenheim Board of Award,
c/o AIAA, 1801 Alexander Bell Drive #500, Reston, VA 20190, 703-264-7623

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 Guggenheim Medalists

 Paul Name: Paul MacCready
Year:  1987
 Abe Name: Abe Silverstein
Year:  1997
 Orville Name: Orville Wright
Year:  1929
 Ludwig Name: Ludwig Prandtl
Year:  1930
 Frederick Name: Frederick William Lanchester
Year:  1931
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