Lees, Lester

views updated


LEES, LESTER (1920–1986), U.S. aeronautical engineer. Lees was born in New York City, obtaining his B.S. and M.S. in aeronautical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1941). He worked in U.S. Air Force laboratories on materiel problems during World War ii before moving first to Princeton and then to the California Institute of Technology. Lees' initial interests concerned the problems of supersonic flight resulting from the shock waves created by the leading edge of aircraft structures, particularly in aerodynamics and heat transfer. His later work in gas dynamics at very high altitude flight proved relevant to atmospheric re-entry and ballistic missile defense. He was involved in environmental issues and became the first director of Caltech's Environmental Quality Laboratory. His many appointments included membership in the President's Scientific Advisory Board.

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]