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...

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