Wood, Karl Dawson (1898-1995) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
Name: Wood, Karl Dawson (1898-1995)
Historical Note: Karl Dawson Wood was born in Forest Glen, Maryland September 27, 1898. He received his Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science from Cornell in 1922 and 1926 and his Ph.D. from University of Michigan in 1995. From 1918 to 1920, Wood was Assistant Mechanical Engineer with the United States Bureau of Standards in Washington, D. C. In 1920 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University. During this time he was a part-time consultant for the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation at San Diego and spent a year and a half in California, chiefly as supervisor of aerodynamic work on the wind tunnel at the California Institute of Technology. Karl D. Wood was the founder of three aeronautical engineering programs: Cornell (1929-1937), Purdue (1937-1944) and Colorado (1944-1963). Prior to 1936 Professor Wood used vacation periods to acquire practical experience and was engaged during this period as consultant for the Bell Telephone Laboratories, the Morse Chain Company, the Atmospheric Nitrogen Corporation and the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation. He was a renowned teacher and “K.D.” continued to teach long after his retirement, into the 1980s. Some of his publications and texts include: Technical Aerodynamics; the two-volume Aerospace Vehicle Design; twelve editions of Aircraft Design with key delineation of "Airplane Design"; and finally Spacecraft Design. Wood was a technical editor of the aeronautical engineering series of college text books published by the Prentiss Hall Company. He was actively consulted on missile design and supersonic transports. He was one of the first engineers to predict the key role that helicopters play in today's mass transportation. His Airplane Design book is still used by experimental airplane builders. He published extensively, but much of the material was confidential. In his nineties, he was a state-ranked tennis player. Karl Dawson Wood died April 19, 1995.
(Anonymous,1944) “Aeronautical Degree Offered For First Time: Noted New Professor,” Colorado Engineer, vol. XXXX, No. 3, pp. 74, 92-93.