This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
One of the most impactful people Salt Lake City has produced he was on the cover of Time magazine in 1957 died June 27 in Santa Monica, Calif.
Simon Ramo, a scientist credited with being the chief architect of the United States' intercontinental ballistic missile system, died 103 years after his birth in Salt Lake City.
Ramo honored his roots by establishing an endowed scholarship fund in the University of Utah's College of Engineering in 1998, providing $5,000 a year to a qualified junior or senior.
The New York Times and Los Angeles Times published extensive obituaries about Ramo, who was the "R" in the aerospace giant TRW and helped make California a center of high-tech weapons research.
In the New York Times piece, he was called "an engineer and entrepreneur who helped develop the rocket technology that changed the nature of the Cold War's nuclear face-off and powered the first Americans into space."
The Los Angeles Times story noted that Ramo was born to Lithuanian immigrant parents on May 7, 1913, in Salt Lake City, where his father operated a clothing store.
A brilliant student, Ramo went to the California Institute of Technology, earning a doctorate in electrical engineering and physics by the age of 23.
His first job was with General Electric, where he helped develop the electron microscope and secured dozens of patents.
He was 100 years old when he got his last patent.
After World War II, Ramo moved on to Hughes Aircraft Co., where he oversaw military-electronics research into radar, computers, navigation systems and guided missiles.
Ramo left the erratic Howard Hughes to form Ramo-Wooldridge Corp. with fellow engineer Dean Wooldridge. It was then that President Dwight Eisenhower asked Ramo to develop a rocket that could deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere in the world in 30 minutes and destroy its target, unstoppable by any defensive system.
Their work on the system, particularly in light of the Cold War fears generated by the Soviet Union's development of nuclear weapons and successful Sputnik space launch, contributed to a public prominence rarely enjoyed by scientists.
Ramo-Wooldridge merged with Thompson Products in 1958 to become TRW, winning NASA's first spacecraft contract and developing the Atlas and Titan missiles, the Pioneer spacecraft and space-based observatories.
TRW eventually had close to 100,000 workers when it was acquired by Northrop Grumman Corp. in 2002.
On Northrop's website, CEO and President Wes Bush posted a statement saying "Si was a close friend, mentor and advisor. … He was among America's greatest scientists and business and defense innovators. … He was a true aerospace visionary and patriot. His legacy will live on for generations."
Ramo received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983. He also was awarded the National Medal of Science and was a lifetime member of the Caltech board of trustees.