Rickover, Hyman

Rickover, Hyman (George)

(1900–86) naval officer; born in Makow, Russia (now in Poland). He came with his parents to Chicago (1906) and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1922. He was chief of the electrical division of the Bureau of Ships during World War II. He became convinced that an atomic-powered submarine was both feasible and necessary. As chief of the nuclear power division, Bureau of Ships, and head of the naval reactors branch of the Atomic Energy Commission, he was the driving force behind the launching of the USS Nautilus (1954), the world's first nuclear-powered submarine. He helped to develop an experimental nuclear electric-power plant (1956–57) and wrote a number of books including Education and Freedom (1959) and American Education: A National Failure (1963). His call for the training of more engineers and scientists was heeded in Congress, which sometimes supported him against his naval superiors. He received the Medal of Freedom in 1980.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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