If the trend of scientific discovery we have discussed continues until the machinelike nature of man finally comes to be widely accepted, there could ensue important changes in man’s attitudes and institutions.

from Mechanical Man (1968)

Portrait of Dean Wooldridge

Dean Wooldridge

Aerospace Engineer and Philosopher
May 30, 1913 – September 20, 2006

Dean Everett Wooldridge was a prominent engineer in the aerospace industry. Something of a prodigy, Wooldridge graduated from high school at the age of 14. He received his bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Oklahoma. Like his future colleague Simon Ramo, Wooldridge went on to study at the California Institute of Technology under William Smythe, from which he received his PhD in physics in 1936, studying the separation of isotopes.

Wooldridge and his long-time business partner, Simon Ramo, founded Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation with two administrative employees and two telephones. Within a week of its formation, the company was chosen to lead the development of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) programs for the U.S. Air Force. That initial contract led to several major divisions of Northrop Grumman that employ tens of thousands of engineers, who are still working on applications of advanced technology to address military needs.

In 1958, Ramo-Wooldridge merged with Thompson Products to form TRW, which carried on the success of its predecessor. It handled system engineering and technical direction for numerous Air Force projects. Wooldridge served as president of TRW until he retired in 1962. He returned to Caltech as a research associate and published several books about the physical processes underlying biology and intelligence, winning the AAAS-Westinghouse award for science writing in 1963.


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