TRIALS: Off Base

Lean, black-browed William Mutterperl of The Bronx came of age just in time to profit by an era in which young physicists are scouted almost as assiduously as young ballplayers. As a student at Manhattan's City College (class of '38), he proved himself a veritable Mickey Mantle among rookie scientists. By 1944 he was in the big leagues. The Government hauled him off to Cleveland's Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, where he streamlined his name to Perl and directed an Air Forces research project in supersonic-aircraft design. By 1950, the year he got his doctorate from Columbia with a "secret" thesis...

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