SCIENCES

The Ultimate Engineer: The Remarkable Life of NASA’s Visionary Leader George M. Low

Univ. of Nebraska. Dec. 2019. 344p. ISBN 9780803299559. $32.95. SCI
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Jurek (coauthor, Marketing the Moon) provides a scholarly, yet accessible and engaging account of George M. Low (1926-84), former NASA administrator and leader of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The author describes how Low immigrated to the United States from Austria at age 12, already interested in taking things apart to see how they work. Low served in the U.S. Army and became a citizen, obtaining an aeronautical engineering degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and later becoming the school’s president. But first, he spent more than 20 years at NASA, helping found the agency, serving as manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, and ultimately deputy director.
VERDICT This well-researched book is as much a history of NASA as a biography of George Low, and as such is an important contribution to the history of the agency. Jurek’s detailed book will appeal to both fans and scholars of NASA and of the engineers like Low who make the agency’s spaceflights work.

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