Author Archives: Roger Launius

Wednesday’s Book Review: “Historians of the American Frontier”


Historians of the American Frontier: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook. Edited by John R. Wunder. (Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, 1988. Pp. viii, 827. Bibliography, index. ISBN 0-313-24899-0, $75.00.) I have been asked recently by several people what they should know about the … Continue reading

Posted in History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The NACA Makes the Jet Engine both More Efficient and More Powerful


I have been working on a general history of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor to NASA, and I have been working on a section of jet research in the 1940s and 1950s. Comments on this draft … Continue reading

Posted in aeronautics, aviation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The NACA and the Documenting of Progress in Aerodynamics


The aeronautical research that the NACA between 1915 and 1958 undertook found dissemination in a complex set of technical publications that the agency made available to all on an equal basis. Most NACA research was accomplished “in-house” by scientists or … Continue reading

Posted in aeronautics, aviation, History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Astronauts Wives Club”


The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story. By Lily Koppel. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2013. Illustrations (some color), author’s note, acknowledgments, 272 pages, hardcover with dustjacket. $28 USD. On one level Lily Koppel’s new book is a breezy, entertaining … Continue reading

Posted in Apollo, History, Space | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Model Research in the NACA’s Wind Tunnels (And Some Full-Sized Efforts)


Nearly thirty years ago historian Alex Roland published a very fine history of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) with the main title, Model Research. It was an ironic title, cleverly emphasizing the aeronautical investigations that the NACA undertook … Continue reading

Posted in aeronautics, aviation, History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Something Fun for a Friday: “Stairway to Heaven” by Heart


This is a stunning live performance of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” by Heart at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C., on December 2, 2012. Ann and Nancy Wilson offer a memorable performance. This song features Jason Bonham on … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Spanish Borderlands Frontier”


The Spanish Borderlands Frontier, 1513-1821. By John Francis Bannon. Tucson: University of New Mexico Press, 1984. (Histories of the American Frontier). ISBN: 0-826-303-09-9. Originally published by New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1970. Originally published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston … Continue reading

Posted in History | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Curiosity’s Remarkable Findings after Two Years


Since the 1960s humans have been engaged on a concerted effort to understand Mars. The landing of Mars Curiosity on the surface in the early hours of August 6, 2012, is the latest effort to learn about one of our … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Space | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Do Academics Blog?


There is an interesting article in the journal, Studies in Higher Education, published in 2013 entitled, “Why Do Academics Blog? An Analysis of Audiences, Purposes and Challenges.” Written by Inger Mewburn and Pat Thomson the abstract reads: “Academics are increasingly … Continue reading

Posted in Personal | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wednesday’s Book Review: “Dog Whistle Politics”


Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. By Ian Haney López. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. There is no doubt, and it is confirmed in this book, that racism is the … Continue reading

Posted in History, Personal, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment