George P. Peterson

George P. Peterson

1878 – 1930

Leader in the Development and Deployment of
Advanced Composite Materials and Manufacturing Technologies

Enshrined: 1991

George P. Peterson is recognized for his technical and visionary leadership in the development and deployment of Advanced Composite Materials and Manufacturing Technologies.  This leadership resulted in incalculable world-wide societal and economic benefits. Today, the inherent concept of tailored composite systems enables new and improved capability in such applications as spacecraft, automobiles, sporting goods, prosthetics, medical devices, commercial aviation, and energy-producing windmills of herculean proportions. Not only do these benefits continue, but they are expanding world-wide in an ever-growing range of applications to the benefit of all mankind.

Peterson assembled a distinguished 35-year career in the aeronautics field, which he began in 1951 by joining the United States Air Force Materials Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in the Non-Metallic Materials Division. His career culminated with his retirement in 1985 as director of the Materials Laboratory, Air Force Wright Aeronautical Laboratories, Aeronautical Systems Division, Air Force Systems Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Born in New York City in 1930, Mr. Peterson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University in 1951, after which he joined the U.S. Air Force.

His professional career included service as chief of the Air Force Materials Laboratory’s West Coast office at Air Force Space Systems Division. He was named chief of the Advanced Composites Division of the Air Force Materials Laboratory in 1965 and chief of the Manufacturing Technology Division of the Air Force Materials Laboratory in 1972. Mr. Peterson also served as director of the Air Force Materials Laboratory from 1974-1977.

As deputy director of the A.F. Wright Aeronautical Laboratories from 1977-1980, Mr. Peterson managed a complex research and development mission to further the development of Air Force systems. In 1973 he was awarded the Structural Dynamics and Materials Award by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Mr. Peterson was cited by Aviation Week magazine in 1974 as one of the top twenty individuals in the U.S. for his contribution toward advances in aerospace materials technology.  He was honored with Lifetime Memberships in the Society for the Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering and in the American Society for Metals. In 1985 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.