Flügge-Lotz, Irmgard

Flügge-Lotz, Irmgard
b. 1903 Germany
d. 1974 USA
German/American aeronautical engineer, specializing inflight control.
Both her father, a mathematician, and her mother encouraged Flügge-Lotz in her desire, unusual for a woman at that time, for a technical education. Her interest in aeronautics was awakened when she was a child, by seeing zeppelins (see Zeppelin, Ferdinand, Count von) being tested. In 1923 she entered the Technische Hochschule in Hannover to study engineering, specializing in aeronautics; she was often the only woman in the class. She obtained her doctorate in 1929 and began working in aeronautics. Two years later she derived the Lotz Method for calculating the distribution in aircraft wings of different shapes, which became widely used. Later, Flügge-Lotz took up an interest in automatic flight control of aircraft, notably of the discontinuous or "on-off" type. These were simple in design, inexpensive to manufacture and reliable in operation. By 1928 she had risen to the position of head of the Department of Theoretical Aerodynamics at Göttingen University, but she and her husband, Wilhelm Flügge, an engineering academic known for his anti-Nazi views, felt themselves increasingly discriminated against by the Hitler regime. In 1948 they emigrated to the USA, where Flügge was soon offered a professorship in engineering, while his wife had at first to make do with a lectureship. But her distinguished work eventually earned her appointment as the first woman full professor in the Engineering Department at Stanford University.
She later extended her work on automatic flight control to the guidance of rockets and missiles, earning herself the description "a female Werner von Braun ".
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award 1970. Fellow, Institution of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Flügge-Lotz was the author of two books on automatic control and over fifty scientific papers.
Further Reading
A.Stanley, 1993, Mothers and Daughters of Invention, Meruchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, pp. 899–901.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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