Thesis ID: CBB535848896

The Emergence of Modernity in the Early Aerospace Industry 1950-1970 (2020)


The literature regarding the management of science during the early aerospace industry between 1950 and 1970, and more specifically the period of Lockheed’s transition from aeronautics into aerospace, is sparse and the subject is insufficiently studied. In this dissertation I examine how the practice of science changed in the United States in the decades after World War II. The scientific endeavor in the United States manifested a transformation from an enlightenment-based set of norms to a new modern ethos. For all intents and purposes, the traditional intellectual boundaries between basic science, applied science, and technology dissolved across the majority of the American scientific endeavor in the from 1950 to 1970 as science became objective oriented. This is in contrast to the common acceptance among historians of science who place this change in the 1970’s and 1980’s concomitant with the development of the entrepreneurial university. The majority of original research presented here comes from the archives of Lockheed executives Willis Hawkins, who started as an engineer and would ultimately ascend to company President, and Ben Rich who was a staff scientist who also rose to lead Lockheed’s semi-autonomous Advanced Development Program or Skunk Works. The dissertation is grounded in Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff’s Triple-Helix Model of science and demonstrates that the early aerospace industry conducted and managed science with the modern characteristics of human resources circulation, the development of innovation networks, reflexive output circulation, and non-linear innovation. Additionally, I amend the Triple-Helix model by proposing that the original version, which is scaled to describe large organizational and national science policy, can be used to model modern science management at three discrete scales – macro, meso, and micro. Finally, the study identifies as outcomes the role of industry associations, the loaning of human resources, and of capitalism during the period, and in the persistence of the Linear Model.

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Authors & Contributors
Jeon, Chihyung
Adler, Antony
Anderson, Warwick H.
Bensaude-Vincent, Bernadette
Bocking, Stephen A.
Grachev, Sergey
History and Technology
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
Public Understanding of Science
Research in the History of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
Princeton University
Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West; University of California Press
Oxford University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Aeronautics; aviation
Science and technology, relationships
Aerospace industry
Science and society
Cold War
Brewer, Griffith
Lozino-Lozinskiy, Gleb Evgeniyevich
Wright brothers, Wilber and Orville
Time Periods
20th century, late
20th century
20th century, early
21st century
19th century
United States
California (U.S.)
Great Britain

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