Qian Xuesen

Qian Xuesen, who died Oct. 31 at 98, didn't like being called the father of China's guided-missile program: he felt that the title didn't give credit to his fellow researchers. Indeed, while the Chinese-born, U.S.-educated rocket scientist was technically brilliant, he also realized that legions of bright thinkers can do far more than one genius ever could. A co-founder of what became Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Qian helped debrief German rocket scientists following World War II, but he was accused of being a Communist spy at the height of the McCarthy era and put under house arrest. He and his family...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!