National Academy of Engineering, Volume 22
Tribute Author
Membership Directory
PublisherNational Academies Press
ReleasedOctober 18, 2019
ISBN 978-0-309-49640-7
Memorial Tributes: National Academy of Engineering, Volume 22

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  • ARTUR MAGER 1919–2016


    ARTUR MAGER, former aerospace executive and president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, philanthropist, husband, and father, passed away peacefully of natural causes on November 22, 2016. He died at the age of 97 at the Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda, California, among family and caregivers.

    Born September 21, 1919, in Niegłowice, Poland, he relocated to Israel with his family and in 1939 emigrated to the United States. He earned his BS in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1943, his MS from Case Institute of Technology in 1951, and in 1953 his PhD (magna cum laude) in aeronautics and physics from the California Institute of Technology. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States November 21, 1944, and during World War II served in the US Army Field Artillery and Counterintelligence (1944–46).

    Dr. Mager spent his professional career in aerospace. He started as a research scientist at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (now NASA) Lewis Laboratory and then moved on to be a research engineer and consultant at the Naval Ordnance Test Station, research scientist at AstroMarquardt Corporation, and director of National Engineering Science Company. From 1961 to 1982 he was employed by the Aerospace Corporation, where he rose to become a corporate officer and group vice president and general manager of engineering. 

    He authored or coauthored numerous papers, articles, and book chapters on swirling flows, boundary layer flows, supersonic burning, thrust vectoring, space vehicle design, and propulsion. He was a registered professional engineer in the state of Ohio.

    He remained professionally active in retirement, consulting with NASA, the US Department of Defense, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and National Research Council (NRC). He served on NASA’s Space Applications Advisory Committee; the NRC’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (1982–87), Committee on NASA’s Space Station Engineering and Technology Development (1984–87), and Committee on Space Shuttle Criticality Review and Hazard Analysis Audit (1986–88); and the Defense Science Board Task Force on Reconnaissance Regimes, among others. He also served on the industrial council of West Coast University and the University of Southern California School of Engineering board of councilors.

    Dr. Mager was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (president, 1980–81), Institute for the Advancement of Engineering, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received the University of Michigan Distinguished Alumni award in 1969, was named a Jimmy Doolittle Fellow of the Air Force Association (1985), and in 1986 Caltech established the annual Artur Mager Prize in Engineering, awarded to “a senior in engineering who has shown excellence in scholarship and the promise of an outstanding professional career.”            

    He married Phyllis Rose Weisman in 1942. During their 71 years of marriage they shared a love of classical music and actively supported causes close to their hearts, most notably the Exceptional Children’s Foundation (ECF) and the California Association for the Retarded. Beyond their philanthropy, each served as a trustee and president of ECF and on the board of directors of the National Association for Retarded Children (ARC). He also chaired the Developmental Disabilities Board of Los Angeles County. The California Association for the Retarded twice recognized him with the Golden Rule Award (1977 and 1989). 

    Phyllis preceded him in death; during her long illness, he was always lovingly at her side. They are survived by their daughter Ilana, who was severely disabled from birth and inspired her parents’ commitment to service. They were devoted to loving and caring for her.

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