April 16, 2010

Class Of The Titans

I was found this awesome name cluster in a 1963 New Yorker profile of a Bell Labs chief, Dr. John Pierce, by Calvin Tomkins last night.:

When they were seniors at Woodrow Wilson [High School in Long Beach, CA], Pierce, [Apollo] Smith and another classmate decided to build a glider...The construction hangar was the Smith garage, where the project was watched over with considerable anxiety by Apollos' father, a chemical engineer, and with awe by Apollo's sisters, Diana and Athena, and by his little brother, Hermes.
Pierce was a key figure in Project Echo, a 100-ft diameter mirrored mylar "satelloon" launched in 1960, which was one of the earliest communications satellites. I explain this, not because I'm kind of fixated on the idea of re-creating a satelloon [though I am], but because it helps understand how irrelevant this tidbit was to the story, and how hard Tomkins must have worked to include it.

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