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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 1992
For continuing leadership in the aircraft gas turbine industry producing many innovative and technological breakthroughs in material and design.

Universally acclaimed by his colleagues as a visionary, Mr. Bernard Koff may also be found sitting amongst a group of school children teaching them the elements of flight, not by words alone, but with a “hands on” wood, glue and paper flying model airplane. Fortunately, Koff doesn’t leave his day job as Executive Vice President of Engineering and Technology at Pratt & Whitney, United Technologies Corporation and go home and rest. He spends his own money to buy up large quantities of model kits to pass out to kids, building on the future in hopes that some of them will want to be aerospace engineers, someday.

Koff earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University in 1951; followed by a Masters degree in 1958 from New York University. Since his family had been farmers on Long Island, he developed early hard-work ethics. Koff got an early start in his career job market by working at General Electric, Fairchild and Curtiss Wright during his latter school years. After graduation, he went back to General Electric, where he spent 22 years in progressively more responsible jobs, designing aircraft gas turbine engines.

Being a hands-on engineer, Koff developed and patented the ring-drum rotor, which, followed by other design innovations, forms the basic configuration for multi-stage compressor rotors, used throughout the world. Through his efforts, the capabilities of the turbine engines have steadily increased. By his development of new materials for engine applications, the operational life of the Pratt & Whitney F-100 engines has been doubled.

As leader of the Air Force F-22, Advanced Tactical Fighter engine competition team, Koff successfully completed all phases, from concept to flight test for the program known as “the engine competition of the century.”

In an environment where pressures tend to favor short-term initiatives, Bernard Koff demonstrated the wisdom of simultaneously meeting both short- and long-term goals. His well-known philosophy of making things right the first time and not allowing schedule to override design excellence is evident in his engine development programs. Through his many published writings and his active involvement with technical societies, Koff has openly shared his extensive knowledge of the aircraft industry with students and colleagues alike.

As a Fellow in three societies, with more awards than wall space, Koff is recognized worldwide for his accomplishments.

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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