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CUA Magazine Spring 2007 CoverThe Final Frontier

CUA Magazine’s Spring 2007 article “A Brief History of Space” featured CUA graduates Michael Griffin [NASA’s administrator], Gwendolyn Sykes [NASA’s CFO], and the CUA Institute for Astrophysics and Computational Sciences. I wish to emphasize a precursor to CUA’s involvement with NASA and space research.

In 1963 the late dean Donald Marlowe and the late C.C. Chang established the Division of Space Sciences and Applied Physics in the university’s School of Engineering and Architecture. Their purpose was to promote CUA’s participation in the application of science and engineering and to enhance America’s prestige and security through space research and education.

Among the first faculty hired was a young grad-uate of the University of Minnesota, Dr. Y.C. Whang. In a short time, Whang became an international expert on the subject of solar magnetohydrodynamics and a principal academic researcher for NASA. Beyond his remarkable research accomplishments, he was the finest engineering teacher in my graduate education at CUA. In addition to Griffin, Sykes and Steve Paddack, whom you quoted in your article, many other NASA professionals were educated at CUA through the efforts of these astute, pioneering engineering educators.

Gentlemen such as Marlowe, Chang and Whang paved the road for CUA’s success with NASA, space research and education that was reflected in your fine article.

Russell A. Smith
Professor Emeritus, U.S. Naval Academy
Ph.D. 1969
Annapolis, Md.

Thank you all for a wonderful issue of CUA Magazine. I very much enjoyed reading “A Brief History of Space” by Maggie Master.

The New York Times there was an article titled, “Prediction Proved: Light Speeds Up an Asteroid as It Spins,” about a sun-driven space effect which has been called the YORP Effect. The acronym YORP is made up of the first letters of four people’s names: Yarkovsky, O’Keefe, Radzievskii and Paddack. I am the only living member of these four members of YORP. The key work I did for this effect was while I was doing my CUA Ph.D. work. In April the International Astronomical Union bestowed the name YORP on the first asteroid that was observed to exhibit the YORP Effect.

Keep up the good work on CUA Magazine. It does a lot to show wonderful things about CUA.

Steve Paddack
B.A.E. 1959, M.S. 1964, Ph.D. 1973
Washington, D.C.


Philosophy and Pacifism
The Spring 2007 issue was very interesting, as usual. I graduated in 1970 with a B.A. in psychology, but went on to work in marine biology and chemistry. I have always valued the liberal arts background that I received at CUA. I really loved the philosophy courses, so I enjoyed the article “The Gift of Intellectual Cheerfulness.”

The anti-war protests in D.C. while I was there are part of my best memories, and I was impressed by the number of CUA professors of religion and philosophy who came to them. They helped form my pacifist beliefs. I hope that there are now courses that put an emphasis on the “philosophy of nonviolence.” It really is where religion ought to be.

Ben Goggins
Tybee Island, Ga.


Haiku on Old Age
You know you are getting old
when Class Notes start
with the ’50s and you
graduated in the ’40s.

John Joly
B.A. 1949
Ogdensburg, N.Y.


Thanks for the Memories
I read with great delight the article “Why I Went to My College Reunion” by Nancy Payer Sauers in the Spring 2007 issue. I happened to graduate from CUA with Nancy in 1986, but couldn’t make it to the reunion as we live in San Antonio now. I didn’t know Nancy, but reading her article was like a step back in time. I can’t believe it’s been 21 years since then, but reading her article — especially her list of CUA memories — brought me right back there. I know exactly what she means when she remembered “that feeling of ‘coming home’ when your plane landed at National Airport.” My hope is to get back “home” again to the D.C. area and to participate in the next reunion. Thanks for the memories!

Kelly Parks Wagner
B.A. 1986, M.A. 1990

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Revised: July 2007

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