Homer E. Newell earned his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin in 1940 and served as a theoretical physicist and mathematician at the Naval Research Laboratory from 1944-1958. During part of that period, he was science program coordinator for Project Vanguard and was acting superintendent of the atmosphere and astrophysics division. In 1958 he transferred to NASA to assume responsibility for planning and development of the new agency's space science program. He soon became deputy director of space flight programs. In 1961 he assumed directorship of the office of space sciences; in 1963, he became associate administrator for space science and applications. Over the course of his career, he became an internationally known authority in the field of atmospheric and space sciences as well as the author of numerous scientific articles and seven books, including Beyond the Atmosphere: Early Years of Space Science (Washington, DC: NASA SP-4211, 1980). He retired from NASA at the end of 1973.