Menu ☰

Back to Top

Physics History Network

Over 1000 biographies of physicists and histories of institutions with information pertaining to their lives, careers, and research.

Tip: Search within this page by using Ctrl + F or ⌘ + F


Search Our Catalogs

Archives Books

Collections

Emilio Segré Visual Archives Digital Collections Oral Histories Archival Finding Aids Physics History Network Member Society Portals

Preservation and Support

Donating Materials Suggest a Book Purchase Saving Archival Collections Grants to Archives Documentation Projects History Newsletters

Center for History of Physics

Scholarship & Outreach

Main Navigation

HomeAboutTopic GuidesFeedback

Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Published as AuthorPublished as Subject

William Rees Sears

Photo

Dates

March 1, 1913 – October 12, 2002

Authorized Form of Name

Sears, William Rees, 1913-2002

Additional Forms of Names

Sears, Bill, 1913-2002

Sears, W. R. (William Rees), 1913-2002

Biography

Abstract

William Sears was Emeritus Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arizona (1985-2002). Other institutional affiliations included Cornell University and Northrop Aircraft, Inc. He was an aeronautical engineer whose research included aerodynamics, fluid mechanics, and airfoils.

Important Dates

March 1, 1913Birth, Minneapolis (Minn.).

1934Obtained BAeroE, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (Minn.).

1937 – 1941Instructor to Assistant Professor, California Institute of Technology.

1938Obtained PhD in Aeronautical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (Calif.).

1941 – 1946Chief Aerodynamicist, Northrop Aircraft, Inc.

1946 – 1974Professor of Aeronautical Engineering and Director, Graduate School of Aeronautical Engineering (1946-1964); Director, Center for Applied Mathematics (1963-1967); and J. L. Given Professor of Engineering (1963-1974), Cornell University, Ithaca (N.Y.).

1974Member, National Academy of Sciences.

1974 – 2002Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (1974-1985) and Emeritus Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (1985-2002), University of Arizona, Tucson (Ariz.).

1992Awarded Fluid Dynamics Prize, American Physical Society.

October 12, 2002Death, Tucson (Ariz.).

Occupation

Aeronautical engineer.

Places

Birth

Minneapolis (Minn.)

Undergraduate Education

Minneapolis (Minn.)

Graduate Education

Pasadena (Calif.)

Employment

Ithaca (N.Y.)

Tucson (Ariz.)

Death

Tucson (Ariz.)

Subjects

Aerodynamics.

Aeronautics.

Fluid mechanics.

Relationships

People

Family

Rhodes, Mabel

Wife.

Sears, Gertrude Rees

Mother.

Advisors & Collaborators

Von Kármán, Theodore, 1881-1963

PhD advisor at California Institute of Technology.

Colleagues

Bateman, Harry, 1882-1946

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Corson, Dale R.

Both employed at Cornell University.

Kantrowitz, Arthur

Both employed at Cornell University.

Liepmann, H. W. (Hans Wolfgang), 1914-

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Millikan, Clark Blanchard, 1903-1966

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Institutions

Major Positions

California Institute of Technology. Division of Engineering and Applied Science

Obtained PhD in Aeronautical Engineering (1938). Instructor to Assistant Professor.

Cornell University. College of Engineering

Professor of Aerunautical Engineering and J. L. Given Professor of Engineering.

Northrop Corporation

Chief Aerodynamicist.

University of Arizona. Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Professor and Emeritus Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

American Physical Society

Received 1992 Fluid Dynamics Prize.

Cornell University

Director, Center for Applied Mathematics.

Cornell University. Graduate School of Aerospace Engineering

Director.

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)

Member.

University of Minnesota. Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

Obtained BAeroE (1934).

Resources

Published Resources

Author

Stories from a 20th-Century Life (Stanford: Parabolic Press, 1994)

Subject

"William Rees Sears: 1913-2002", Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences