William F. Durand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
William Frederick Durand
William Durand.jpg
Born (1859-03-05)March 5, 1859
Beacon Falls, Connecticut
Died August 9, 1958(1958-08-09) (aged 99)
Residence United States
Citizenship American
Fields Aeronautics
Institutions National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics,
Stanford University
Alma mater United States Naval Academy,
Lafayette College
Known for pioneering research in aeronautics and propellers
Notable awards Daniel Guggenheim Medal (1935)
William Durand redirects here. For the medieval canon lawyer, see Guillaume Durand.

William F. Durand (March 5, 1859 – August 9, 1958) was a United States naval officer and pioneer mechanical engineer. He contributed significantly to the development of aircraft propellers. He was the first civilian chair of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the forerunner of NASA.[1]

A native of Connecticut, he was a member of the first graduating class of Birmingham High School in Derby, Connecticut (now Derby High School) in 1877. He graduated second in his class at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and received his Ph.D. from Lafayette College. He went on to teach at the Michigan State College, Cornell University and Stanford University, teaching that school's first course in Aeronautics, the second offered by any school in the country (the first was offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). He helped rebuild Stanford after the 1906 earthquake, and the department of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering building bears his name. A memorial there reads: "His first professional assignment in 1880 was on the USS Tennessee, a full rigged wooden ship with auxiliary steam power. His last, 1942-46 was as chairman of the National Aeronautical Commission for the development of jet propulsion for aircraft."

He died in 1958 at the age of 99.



  1. ^ "From Durand to Hoff: The making of a pioneering Aero/Astro Department". Stanford University. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  2. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter D". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 22 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 

Research resources[edit]

External links[edit]