The Michigan Engineer News Center

Michigan Aerospace Remembers the late Richard Passman

Mr. Richard Passman (BSAE ‘44, MSAE ‘47) had a prolific, wide-spanning career in the field of aerospace engineering, working with companies such as Bell Aircraft and General Electric, and making significant contributions to United States aircraft, spy satellites, and missiles. He passed away on April 1st, in Silver Spring, MD at the age of 94.| Short Read
EnlargeRIchard Passman
IMAGE:  Michigan Aerospace Alumnus Mr. Richard Passman (BSAE ‘44, MSAE ‘47)

Passman played a key role in several government projects, some of which were classified for decades. “Corona,” the first spy satellite, took high resolution photographs at high altitudes and ejected the film in a bucket going back down to earth. Passman and his team worked on the intricacies of keeping the bucket at a low enough temperature so that the film would survive the fall. As the general manager of space activities at G.E. for years, he specialized in these types of efforts to create heat shielding technologies for intercontinental ballistic missiles and multiple war-head missiles. In retirement, Mr. Passman volunteered to work at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum alongside his colleague and the curator of the museum, John D. Anderson.

Mr. Passman is survived by his three children, William, Henry and Don, his wife Minna Passman, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He will be missed.

RIchard Passman


Sam Nursall
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Aerospace Engineering

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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read