George S. Springer, an emeritus professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, describes his family background and education, his immigration from Hungary to Australia and then to the United States, and highlights from his research, teaching, and consulting career. He offers anecdotes and reflections concerning the growth and development of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the School of Engineering, and Stanford University.
Springer begins his interview by describing his childhood in Hungary during World War II and his decision to leave the country in the mid-1950s. He narrates his perilous escape to Austria and his journey to Australia, where he completed his university education in mechanical engineering. He describes his path to Yale where he received his PhD, his experiences as a member of the engineering faculty at MIT and the University of Michigan, and his arrival at Stanford in 1983.
Springer speaks about the “congenial” culture of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, recalling some of his colleagues, his approach as chair, and changes in the department over the years. He discusses how he was able to expand his research in composite materials at Stanford and talks about some of his research associations with the United States Navy, Air Force, NASA, and the aeronautical industry.
In conclusion, Springer talks about the work he does as an emeritus faculty member, including assisting with graduate admissions. He reminisces about what he enjoyed the most at Stanford--his students and colleagues--and some of his least favorite things, like dealing with human resources.
George Springer, Stanford Historical Society, oral histories, interviews, higher education, professors, aeronautics and astronautics, Hungary, and School of Engineering
December 8, 2016
Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program interviews, 1999-2012