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Tools of the Trade
10.17.08
 
Bernhard AndersonBernhard "Bernie" Anderson. Photo Credit: NASA
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Bernhard "Bernie" Anderson remembers when a slide rule was considered a state-of-the-art tool. Now he utilizes sophisticated computer software to help NASA discover new approaches to achieving technology breakthroughs.

"While our early tools and testing methods may be considered archaic by today's standards, we relied a lot on our intuition," said Anderson, who came to NACA in 1955 fresh out of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

Anderson began his career as an aeronautical engineer under the supervision of Dr. Abe Silverstein, who would serve as Director of Lewis (Glenn) Research Center from 1961 to 1973. Anderson laid out test plans and set up hardware for engine inlet testing in what would later be named the Dr. Abe Silverstein 10-by-10 Supersonic Wind Tunnel.

"My early work centered primarily on advancing engine inlet technology," Anderson explained. "Some of my projects included work on military applications such as the B-58 bomber and the YF-12 fighter."

About 25 years ago, Anderson traded in his slide rule for a computer and began designing new inlet concepts for various projects using computational fluid dynamics. Many of his designs have been turned into hardware that was tested in the wind tunnel. Along the way he earned numerous awards, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.

While Anderson's early days with the agency revolved around discovering new and exciting possibilities in engine design and testing, his more recent excitement comes from using ever-advancing computer technology to produce designs much more effectively than ever before.

"NASA's improved tools and knowledge will enable us to efficiently advance aeronautics research," Anderson said, "and I plan on staying around for a while to see it."

Doreen B. Zudell (SGT, Inc.)

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