George P. Peterson served as director of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate from 1974-1977 and then again from 1980-1985 and was instrumental in the development of advanced composite materials used across the world today. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Former AFRL director joins Engineering and Science Hall of Fame

The Engineering and Science Hall of Fame in Dayton recently named George P. Peterson, former Air Force Research Laboratory Director of Materials and Manufacturing, as one of three inductees for 2019.

Peterson was the technical and visionary leader for the development and deployment of a completely new family of high-performance, lightweight, state-of-the-art composite materials for aerospace applications from the early 1960s through the 1980s. This includes advancing the materials from early development through real-world demonstration and manufacturing required for full-scale production.

The lasting benefits of these materials are still felt and explored across the world today in aerospace, automotive, sporting, infrastructure, transportation and medical product development industries.

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Peterson joins a group of more than 60 enshrinees, including Orville and Wilbur Wright, Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington Carver, Lillian Moller Gilbreth and other notable men and women.

Graduating in 1951 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University, Peterson served in the U.S. Air Force until 1953. He held many leadership positions as a civil servant at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, including two-time director of AFRL Materials and Manufacturing until his retirement in 1985. Peterson was elected to the National Academy of Engineering that same year.

In 1974, Peterson was cited as one of the top 20 U.S. contributors toward advancement of aerospace materials technology by Aviation Week magazine and received the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive from President Ronald Reagan in 1982, among many other accolades.

Joining Peterson as 2019 inductees are Dr. Perry L. McCarty and Glenn M. Curtis for achievements in environmental engineering and advancements in military and civilian aviation, respectively.

The Engineering Science Hall of Fame is an international 501.C.3 organization established to honor engineers and scientists who, through scientific and engineering principles, make significant contributions to human well-being on a global basis. It is part of the Affiliate Societies Council of Dayton and is affiliated with the Engineers Club of Dayton.

The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for the nation’s air, space and cyberspace force.

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