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Reception today to honor Seamans; lab to be named after him

The Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics will hold a reception at 3pm today (March 3) to honor Professor Emeritus Robert C. Seamans Jr. for his contributions to the Institute and to the field of aeronautics over the past five decades. The MIT community is invited to attend.

Professor Seamans will share his recollections of the early years of space exploration at today's reception in the Marlar Lounge (Rm 37-252). The reception organizers also plan to show a brief video presentation of the history of the Apollo space program.

Professor Seamans, noted for his work in the development of guidance and control systems for ships, missiles and space vehicles, will have a laboratory named after him in the department's new Learning Laboratory for Complex Systems in recognition of his distinguished contributions to the Institute and to the fields of aeronautical engineering and space exploration.

After receiving the SM (1942) and ScD (1951) from MIT and holding teaching and research positions at the Institute until 1955, he worked in industry and held several posts in Washington. He was associate administrator and then deputy administrator of NASA during the period 1960 to 1968, Secretary of the Air Force from 1969-1973, and became the first administrator of the Energy Research and Development Administration in 1974.

He has been affiliated with the MIT faculty since 1968, was the Henry Luce Professor of Environment and Public Policy from 1977 untilhis retirement in 1984, and served as dean of engineering from 1978-81. Following his retirement, he served as a senior lecturer in the aeronautics and astronautics department from 1984-96.

The new Learning Laboratory will require the development and renovation of 40,000 square feet of space, including the revitalization of Building 33 and the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel, and the construction of high-bay hangar space for student projects. Construction will begin in April, with full occupancy expected in April 2000.

A version of this article appeared in the March 3, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 21).

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