Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
William Hayward Pickering
Sir William Hayward Pickering ONZ KBE (December 24, 1910—March 15, 2004) headed Pasadena, California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for 22 years, retiring in 1976, he was a senior NASA luminary and pioneered the exploration of space. His group launched Explorer I from Cape Canaveral on 31 January 1958 less than four months after the Russians had launched Sputnik (much to the surprise of the Americans). Explorer III discovered the radiation field round the earth that is now known as the Van Allen radiation belt. Explorer 1 orbited for 10 years and was the forerunner of a number of successful JPL earth and deep-space satellites.
Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Pickering attended Havelock School, Marlborough, where Lord Rutherford had attended previously. As a boarder at Wellington College he was introduced to astronomy under the instruction of the famous Charles Gifford (then a master at Wellington College) at the school's observatory. After spending one year at Canterbury University College he completed his bachelor's degree at the California Institute of Technology and completed a PhD in physics in 1936. His specialty was in electrical engineering and he concentrated on what is now telemetry.
He is one of the few non-politicians to have appeared on the cover of Time twice. In 1975 he was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Gerald Ford, and was created an honorary (because of his American citizenship) knight commander in the Order of the British Empire. In 1994 he won the Japan Prize. On June 2, 2003 he became an honorary member of the Order of New Zealand.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details