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Guide to the John W. Edwards Papers, 1965-2011
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Series Description


Series I NASA Papers 1965-2010

Scope and Content Note

The bulk of the collection is located in this series, which is composed of papers related to Edwards' scientific research projects (Subseries 1) his administrative documents (Subseries 2), and awards he received (Subseries 3).
Most of the material is in Subseries 1, which is further organized into categories that represent significant groupings of documents by topic or project. These are: documents related to the Computational Aeroelasticity Program-Transonic Small Disturbance (CAP-TSD) and CAP-TSD viscous (CAP-TSDV) computer codes, raw data records, the Drones for Aerodynamic and Structural Testing (DAST) project, the National Transonic Facility (NTF), the National Full-scale Aerodynamics Complex Wind Tunnel Fan Blades project, notes and reference materials, the Space Shuttle Pilot Induced Oscillation Suppression Filter, and Space Shuttle Protuberance Air Load Ramps. Other files include research and data on various aircraft and wind tunnels over the course of Edwards' career. The CAP-TSD and CAP-TSDV documents include the complete files for a workshop taught by Edwards and his staff to instruct engineers at NASA and in the aerospace industry in using the code. These papers also document precursors of the code, such as LTRAN2, XTRAN2, XTRAN2L, and XTRAN3S, among others. Various computations, computer code, and memos are also included in the CAP-TSD and CAP-TSDV category. The DAST project is thoroughly documented in these papers. Edwards carefully arranged these project documents chronologically, and included notes, internal memos, and planning documents, such as diagrams of the control room setup and work orders for equipment needed for test flights. The NTF category includes papers and data documenting wind tunnel testing, as well as records, correspondence, and memos that document a debate at NASA in 1998 about the future of the NTF program. This includes a handwritten draft of a letter by Edwards that argues "Wind tunnel technology and testing is/should be the 'life-blood' of Langley Research Center" (NASA Dryden History Office, 1998).
Subseries 2 includes administrative files from Edwards' career at Langley Research Center. A large portion of these records document Edwards' period as Head of the Unsteady Aerodynamics Branch at Langley, including documentation of a national peer review of the entire branch. Subseries 2 also includes meeting notes, travel narratives, management training documentation, calendars, resumes, evaluations, and performance reviews.
Subseries 3 includes various NASA and AIAA awards Edwards received, and photographs documenting the awards ceremonies.

Series II Works Authored by John W. Edwards

Scope and Content Note

This series is composed of presentation documents, publications, and publication drafts, all authored by Edwards. Presentations are printouts of documents (possibly printed from Microsoft PowerPoint presentations) that summarize projects and findings, and often include images and diagrams. These documents are from presentations and lectures given internally at NASA, to outside aerospace industry representatives, and at international conferences and meetings. Publications and publication drafts include NASA technical memoranda and reports, journal publications and drafts, and drafts of chapters from monographs--aerodynamics textbooks for which Edwards authored chapters on unsteady aerodynamics.

Series III Correspondence

Scope and Content Note

This series includes correspondence between Edwards and his peers in the aerospace industry and in academia throughout his career.
Subseries 1 is comprised of correspondence with Bill Rodden, a friend and colleague with whom Edwards corresponded beginning in the 1970s and throughout his career. Rodden worked for several aerospace companies in Southern California in the 1960s and 1970s, including Douglas Aircraft, Northrop Corporation, and Aerospace Corporation. From the 1970s Rodden was an independent consulting engineer for the aerospace industry, and taught courses about aeroelasticity. Rodden and Edwards were both active members on the Aerospace Flutter and Dynamics Council, through which they corresponded regularly. In the 2000s, Rodden consulted Edwards frequently for input on Rodden's publications and presentations, including a monograph Rodden was working on that included a chapter on the General Aeroelastic Analysis Method, for which Edwards provided significant input and editing.
Subseries 2 is comprised of correspondence with peers about organizing international symposia and conferences with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, with NATO's Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development, and the Research and Technology Organization, and the International Forum on Aeroelasticity and Structural Dynamics.
The bulk of material is in Subseries 3, Other Correspondence. Most of these documents are arranged by Edwards' original order at the folder level. These documents include correspondence with colleagues at national aeronautics agencies of other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Israel, discussing NATO-related topics, as well as sharing information about developments specific to Edwards' areas of research. Edwards also corresponded with his peers at NASA regarding projects they were collaborating on, including Peter Goorjian, Robert V. (Bob) Doggett Jr., and Robert M. (Bob) Bennett. He also had relationships with various private industry and academic engineers with whom he corresponded such as Danny Liu of Zona Technology, Inc., A.V. Balakrishnan of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Earl Dowell of Duke University.

Series IV Education Papers

Scope and Content Note

This series includes documents from Edwards' Ph.D. coursework (Subseries 1) and documents compiled and authored by Edwards for various graduate-level courses he taught himself (Subseries 2). Subseries 1 includes handwritten notes and calculations, course documents, assignments, and research papers from Edwards' Ph.D. courses at Stanford University between 1974 and 1977. Subseries 2 includes entire course plans for graduate-level courses on aerodynamics and aeroelasticity that Edwards taught primarily at Langley Research Center through George Washington University. These include drafts and final copies of lecture material, bibliographies, homework assignments, and examinations.

Series V Electronic Records 1995-2011

Scope and Content Note

This series is comprised of records created between 1995 and 2011. Subseries 1 includes e-mail correspondence authored between 2007 and 2011. These records include correspondence with international aeronautics organizations: NATO's Research Technology Organization Applied Vehicle Technology group, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and International Forum on Aeroelasticity and Structural Dynamics (IFASD). E-mail related to NASA projects include NASA's Engineering and Safety Center Review Board, and the Models for Aeroelastic Validation Research Involving Computation, as well as a folder labeled 'accidents.' E-mail records also include documents related to graduate courses Edwards taught, and correspondence, including a folder of correspondence with Bill Rodden.
Subseries 2 includes electronic files dating from 2001 to 2011; most of these records date between 2003 and 2011. The bulk of these documents contain data, documentation, images, and videos related to Edwards' Space Shuttle External Tank Protuberance Air Load Ramp research. Documents regarding NASA Engineering and Safety Center are also a large portion of these files, which include meeting minutes, data, and reports. Subseries 2 also includes materials related to the Aerodynamics Flutter Dynamics Council, AIAA, IFASD, and NATO's Research and Technology Organization conferences and meetings, including page proofs of AIAA articles, and documents form the RTO Applied Vehicle Technology group. This subseries also contains correspondence, images, videos, and presentations about Professor Holt Ashley, Mach waves and acoustics research, and about the CAP-TSD code.
Subseries 3 includes optical media primarily created between 1995 and 2005. A large portion of these files include documentation of several workshops that Edwards taught to instruct industry engineers how to use the CAP-TSD computer code. One disk, "Fun with Aeroelasticity" is a collection of videos documenting visible flutter and aeroelastic phenomena in airplanes and other structures, and includes digitized NACA and NASA films form the 1960s-1980s.

Series VI Visual Media

Scope and Content Note

This series includes photographic materials and Video Home System (VHS) tapes covering the entire period of Edwards' career. Subseries 1 contains photographic prints, negatives and film strips. The bulk of the subseries is 8 x 10 photographic prints depicting airfoils, wind tunnels, airplanes, and NASA staff. Subseries 2 contains approximately 140 two-inch projection slides from the 1980s and 1990s. These seem to have been used for various presentations at conferences. Subseries 3 is comprised of 35 VHS tapes. Some of the VHS tapes were produced by NASA agencies, while others seem to have been created by Edwards. The labels on most of these tapes indicate that they may contain documentation of wind tunnel tests, experiments, and flight tests.