36. Meeting with Jack Boyd
Opera For The Techno Wonders
I have been lucky enough to meet with Jack Boyd! Here is a bit more on the incredible story of Jack Boyd and NASA Ames. Jack is part of the International Space Orchestra.
Jan 15, 2012 marked the 65th anniversary of the day that Jack Boyd, senior advisor to the Ames center director, first reported to work at what is now NASA Ames. Boyd originally traveled on a transcontinental train from Virginia to the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of his Virginia Tech classmates chose to work at Langley, but Boyd chose another path, Ames.
He first reported to work on Jan. 15, 1947, with a starting salary of $2,644 a year. Walter Vincenti was his branch chief, Harvey Allen, his division chief. Aircraft and spacecraft fly better because of his research in the Ames 1-foot-by-3-foot and 6-foot-by-6-foot wind tunnels — including swept wings, conical camber, canards on supersonic aircraft, flights through non-Earth atmospheres, and the shaping of space capsules.
In 1963, Harvey Allen called on Boyd for technical assistance to marshall all the new work at Ames into comprehensive research programs. In the late 1960s, he served as the Ames’ point person with NASA Headquarters in creating new research programs when America was redefining its exploration mission.
He became deputy director for aeronautical and flight systems at Ames; deputy director of Dryden Research Center; acting deputy director and associate director of NASA Ames and then associate administrator for management at NASA Headquarters. He was tasked to work on the consolidation of NASA’s helicopter research program, preparing Dryden as a shuttle landing site; implementing affirmative action programs for the agency; completing NASA’s advanced secure computing facility; working with defence agencies on classified research, and leading NASA to implement the reorganization and reforms of the Packard report on federal laboratories.
In his ‘second career’ at Ames, he began in educational outreach. Even when he became the executive assistant to the director, his primary role was that of advisor, teacher and mentor.
Today, he is the senior advisor for history and the center Omsbud, as well as the senior advisor to the center director at Ames. He has inspired generations with his unfailing optimism and enthusiasm, his desire for efficiency and accomplishment, his spirit of fairness and cooperation, his love of learning and teaching, and his understanding of the value of history in envisioning our future.