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05/13/2004 07:00:00

Inaugural Wouk Lecture on Advanced Technology for Space Exploration

PASADENA, Calif.- Erik Antonsson, the chief technologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a professor of mechanical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, will give the inaugural Victor Wouk Lecture at 4 p.m. May 19 in Lees-Kubota Lecture Hall, 101 Guggenheim Laboratory of Aeronautics and Applied Science on the Caltech campus. Antonsson will discuss "Advanced Technology for Space Exploration" and will provide an overview of the JPL Strategic Technology Plan, along with highlights of recent successes and future missions. A wine and cheese reception will follow. The program is free and open to the public.

This new lectureship is named in honor of Caltech alumnus Victor Wouk, who received his master's and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from Caltech in 1940 and 1942, respectively. He devoted himself largely to developing hybrid motor vehicles and using semiconductors in electric vehicles. He designed and built a high-performance electric vehicle and a high-performance, low-emission, improved-fuel-use hybrid. He continues to promote the continuing development of hybrid automobiles powered by both electricity and gasoline, such as the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, and Ford Escape Hybrid.

The range of Wouk's activities is wide, and he has consulted for several institutions and the government on the problems of energy. A space-travel buff since childhood, he also worked with the team that developed fuel gauges for the "dune buggies" that roamed the surface of the moon during the Apollo program.

The Victor Wouk Lectureship was established by the Wouk family in December 2004 to bring to campus experts on the latest advances in science and technology.

Due to health limitations, Wouk himself will not be able to attend the lecture, but his brother Herman, the author, and Victor's son, Jonathan, will attend.

Antonsson is currently on leave from Caltech as he serves in his position at JPL, in which he has responsibility for planning, implementing, and leading JPL's technology strategy. He also serves as a member of JPL's executive council and as the senior representative for JPL basic technology research to NASA headquarters and other NASA centers and government agencies

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Written by Jill Perry