Robert G. Loewy graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1947 with a Bachelor of aeronautical engineering degree. He earned an M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Loewy has had an influential career in industry, government, and academia for more than 60 years. His specialty was rotary wing aircraft. He was a structural dynamicist and an aeroelastician, and has conducted research in these disciplines on fixed-wing aircraft, space launch vehicles, and satellites.
From 1948 to 1962, Dr. Loewy worked in the aerospace industry as an engineer with increasing levels of responsibility at companies which have become Lockheed-Martin, Calspan, and Boeing Helicopter Company, culminating in the position of chief technical engineer at Boeing. Between September 1965 and 1966 he was chief scientist for the United States Air Force.
As a faculty member at the University of Rochester from 1962 to 1965 and 1966 to 1974, Loewy was professor of mechanical and aerospace sciences, director of the Space Science Center, and finally dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Loewy joined Rensselaer as provost and professor of aeronautical engineering and mechanics in 1974. In 1978, Loewy assumed the position of Institute Professor (the first such in Rensselaer’s history), a senior teaching and research position in the School of Engineering. He founded the Rotocraft Technology Center at Rensselaer in 1982 and served as its director. While at Rensselaer, Loewy was principal investigator of the NASA and Air Force Composite Materials and Structures grant, which included the RP-1 composite glider project.
Loewy joined Georgia Tech in 1993 and became William R. T. Oakes honorary professor and chair of the School of Aerospace Engineering. He was awarded the Daniel Guggenheim Medal for aeronatical engineering in 2006. Other honors include membership in the National Academy of Engineering and the Spirit of St. Louis Medal. He was inducted into Rensselaer’s Alumni Hall of Fame in 2009.
Loewy served on numerous NASA committees, chairing the Aeronautics Advisory Committee from 1977 to 1983. He was chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force from 1965 to 1966, and subsequently chaired the Air Force Scientific Advisory board from 1972 to 1975. He served on several boards of the National Research Council and several other government committees.