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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 1973
For outstanding courage, lead­ership and pioneering fore­sight that contributed out­standingly to civil and mili­tary aviation, including the evolution of the jet transport;and for his broad counsel and support to government and in­dustry during a distinguished career.
William McPherson Allen

Bill Allen was a lawyer, not a pilot, aeronautical engineer nor manufacturing expert.

Yet under his leadership, Boeing became the world’s largest and most profitable airframe manufacturer, an arsenal for U.S. defense and a major contributor to the conquest of space. Boeing airplanes took the United States and much of the free world into the jet age and to this day dominates a highly-competitive industry with a reputation for product integrity, support and technical excellence.

All of this merely reflected the way William M. Allen ran the company from the day he became its president, in 1945, to when he retired as Board Chairman in 1972—culminating 47 years of service to Boeing, the nation and the world.

Allen joined Boeing in 1925, fresh out of the Harvard Law School. A native of Montana, he had received a B.A. from Montana State and had little interest in aviation until he went with the then-tiny Seattle airplane company as a legal counsel. Despite his non-aeronautical background, however, he seemed to have a gut feeling for the hectic world of aircraft manufacturing and as Boeing grew, Bill Allen’s judgment, views and opinions began to carry weight.

He was an instinctive gambler, astute enough to judge risks and courageous enough to take them. It was Allen who made the momentous decision to build the jet transport that became the 707; it also was his nod giving the go-ahead to a billion-dollar gamble that paid off—production of the 727, history’s most successful commercial transport. And it was Bill Allen who flashed the green light for the 747 project.

When he became Boeing’s president at the close of World War II, the company’s military contracts were being cancelled in a horrendous flood. Allen’s first major decision involved production of the B-377 Stratocruiser—he went for broke and okayed the project, thus keeping Boeing in the commercial transport business and setting the stage for the incredible success story that was to follow.

Allen served as the president of the Boeing Company from 1945 until 1970. He also served as the chairman of the Boeing Company between 1970 and 1972. While president of Boeing, numerous planes of renown today were launched, among them the Boeing 727, Boeing 737 and Boeing 747.  He died in 1985.

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


Medalist For 1943
For major contributions to aeronautics leading to impor­tant advances in airplane de­sign, flight research, and air­line operation; particularly for the presentation of new meth­ods for operational control and for the development of sci­entific and systematic meth­ods in the flight testing of air­craft for basic design and per­formance data.
Edmond Turney Allen

The Daniel Guggenheim Medal for 1943 was posthumously awarded to an outstanding representative of that small company of bold and devoted men who risk their lives—and sometimes, as in his case, forfeited it—in order that the age of flight might continue its unceasing and spectacular advance.

Edmund Turney Allen was born in Chicago on January 4, 1896. His father died in 1913, and a good part of his early education was self-obtained. He was graduated from high school in Chicago in 1913, and two years later matriculated at the University of Illinois.

Soon after the United States entered World War I, he enlisted and joined the officers’ training camp at Fort Sheridan. Holding the rank of Lieutenant in the Signal Corps, Aviation Section, he served as a pilot instructor in 1916. In 1918 he conducted flight tests at Martlesham Heath in England. The next year found him flight-testing at McCook Field.

After the Armistice he spent a year at the University of Illinois and two years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During the summers he acted as chief test pilot for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics at Langley Field. From 1920 to 1922 he was engaged at MIT in designing, building and flying gliders, two of which he flew in competition in France and Germany.

In 1924 he again served as test pilot at McCook Field, and from 1925 to 1929 flew the mail for United Air Lines. In 1930 he joined the Boeing Airplane Company as test pilot and the next year was test pilot for the Northrop Corporation. Then, in turn, he became consulting engineer and test pilot for Chance Vought Aircraft, Pan American Grace Airways (where he set a world’s altitude record for standard commercial passenger planes of 29,800 feet), Eastern Air Lines, Curtiss-Wright Corporation, Douglas Aircraft Company, North American Aviation, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Stearman Airplane Company, Sikorsky Aircraft, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, Spartan Aircraft Company, and Consolidated Aircraft Corporation. In 1939 he rejoined the Boeing Airplane Company, where he became Director of Flight and Aerodynamics.

Recognized as the leading American test pilot of his day, Allen was first recipient of the Octave Chanute Award, given annually by the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences. On December 17, 1942, he delivered the Wright Brothers Lecture in New York, presenting a paper on “Flight Testing for Performance and Stability.”

Less than a year later, on September 18, 1943, he was killed in the crash of a new Army bomber he was testing. The Guggenheim Medal and its accompanying scroll were presented to Mrs. Allen in Seattle on behalf of the Board of Award by Philip G. Johnson, then president of the Boeing Airplane Company. The plane which had been under test became the B-29, noted combat weapon of World War II. The presentation ceremony marked the opening of a laboratory constructed by the Boeing Company and named in Allen’s memory.

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


Medalist For 1969
For personal contributions to outstanding research and development leading to vastly improved re-entry bodies, mis­siles, satellites and spacecraft, and for leadership in directing and inspiring a large group of men at Ames Laboratory.

A selfless, dedicated scientist whose personal reward was the safety of America’s astronauts—that was H. Julian Allen.

It was Allen who, in 1952, conceived the concept of bluntness as an aerodynamic technique for solving the severe re-entry heating problem then delaying the devel­opment of ballistic missiles. His experiments revolutionized the fundamental de­sign of ballistic missile re-entry shapes and were later applied to spacecraft.

At the time he originated his research, Allen was a top engineer on the staff of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California. He had gone to Ames from the Langley Research Center, where his work with NASA had begun in 1936, and became chief of the High-Speed Research Division in 1945.

Allen, a graduate of Stanford University, received in 1957 the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor of NASA’s predecessor agency, the National Ad­visory Committee for Aeronautics, but his re-entry work was but one of his ac­complishments. He developed a well-accepted theory for predicting forces at supersonic speeds on bodies at angles of attack, guided the experimental investi­gation of heat transfer and boundary layer development at supersonic speeds, and did important research into shock-wave boundary-layer interaction—all areas lead­ing to vital progress in supersonic and hypersonic aerodynamics.

In 1965, NASA awarded him its coveted Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement for his leadership in solving problems in the design of supersonic aircraft, missiles and spacecraft, mostly in the field of thermal protection.

Allen died January 29, 1977.

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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