Innovator of Human Powered Flight to Speak at WPI

Paul MacCready to Receive WPI Presidential Medal

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

Worcester, Mass.-- Paul MacCready, Ph.D. Chairman of AeroVironment and considered to be the father of human powered flight, will speak at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on Monday, November 11 from 3-4 p.m. His topic will be "Energy for the Future," the first of many presentations at WPI through December 2003, marking the 100th anniversary of powered flight.

Following his presentation, he will be presented the WPI Presidential Medal for his work as a "Technological Humanist" using science and technology to effect positive change in society.

Dr. MacCready is best known for designing and building the first human powered airplanes, the Gossamer Condor and the Gossamer Albatros, both of which won Kremer Prizes for first achieving human-powered flight over a fixed course, and then across the English Channel.

He is the founder and Chairman of AeroVironment in Monrovia, California, which designs and builds sustainable unmanned aerial vehicles, energy efficient systems and electrical vehicle systems. In 1990, MacCready's AeroVironment team members developed the GE Impact, the first modern electric car, and predecessor to GE's EV-1. In 1998, they successfully sent their unmanned Helios plane 96,863 feet into the stratosphere, breaking the world's record for achieving the highest altitude for jet- and propeller-powered aircraft.

In July 2002, in collaboration with NASA and Japan's Post and Telecommunications Ministry, MacCready's team successfully tested the first commercial telecommunications applications from the stratosphere from the unmanned, solar-powered aircraft Pathfinder Plus.

Paul MacCready received a B.S. in physics from Yale in 1947, an M.S. in physics from Caltech in 1948, and a Ph.D. in aeronautics from Caltech in 1952. He has received numerous honorary degrees, including one from WPI in 1980, and over 30 national and international honors, including the Guggenheim Medal, Time's "Greatest Minds of the Century," and NASA's Public Service Grand Achievement award. MacCready is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has Fellow status in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Meteorological Society.


Paul McCready, Ph.D. - father of human-powered flight


Presentation "Energy for the Future" at Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Olin Hall - 107


Monday, November 11, 3-4 p.m.

Admission is free and open to the public