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The NACA Centenary: 100 Years of Aerospace Research and Development
July 10, 2014


The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum and the NASA History Program Office are inviting proposals for papers to a special symposium commemorating a century of aerospace research and development. On March 3, 1915, the U.S. Congress established the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) “to separate the real from the imagined and make known the overlooked and unexpected” in the quest for flight. In honor of that centennial, NASA and the National Air and Space Museum will team to present a symposium on the history of the NACA. This historical symposium will be held in Washington, D.C., on March 3-4, 2015. 


All are invited to submit proposals. Major themes to be addressed in the symposium include:

  • The NACA organizational and institutional structure and evolution.
  • The NACA model of public/private partnerships in aerospace research.
  • The NACA’s contributions to aerospace theory, ground research, and flight operations.
    • Individual projects.
    • Broad themes in the history of the agency.
    • Research projects versus other structural attributes.
  • The social, economic, and/or political history of the NACA.
  • The NACA culture and its evolution.
  • The relationship of the NACA to other entities, both private and public.
  • Innovation in aerospace research.
  • Models of partnership.

Possible topics are not restricted to these major themes. All papers are envisioned as scholarly contributions exploring broad thematic issues and questions.

Contributions from international scholars and graduate students with an interest in this history are welcome.

Some travel support scholarships may be available for international scholars and graduate students. Please indicate your interest in a need statement included with your paper proposal.

We intend that a subset of the papers will merit publication.

Proposals for papers should include a title and abstract, as well as the author’s curriculum vita, and travel support need statement (as appropriate). Please send all proposals, in the form of a 300 word abstract and a brief vita electronically to Dr. William P. Barry, NASA Chief Historian, at bill.barry@nasa.gov, and Dr. Roger D. Launius, Associate Director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs at the National Air and Space Museum, launiusr@si.edu. The deadline for abstract submissions is September 15, 2014.

Decisions about acceptance and support will be made by November 1, 2014.

The aircraft in this 1953 photo of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) hangar at South Base of Edwards Air Force Base showed the wide range of research activities being undertaken.
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March 2015 marks 100 years since the founding of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, NASA's predecessor.
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NASA/Lillian Gipson
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Page Last Updated: September 2nd, 2014
Page Editor: Yvette Smith