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Interview with Richard H. MacNeal

MacNeal, Richard H. (2003) Interview with Richard H. MacNeal. [Oral History]

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An interview on January 23, 2002, with Richard H. MacNeal, former chairman and CEO of the computer software firm MacNeal-Schwendler Corporation (MSC). Dr. MacNeal received his BA from Harvard (1943) and his MS (1947) and PhD (1949) from Caltech in electrical engineering, studying methods of stress and vibration analysis using the analog computer in Gilbert McCann’s Analysis Laboratory. After receiving his PhD, he became an instructor and then an assistant professor at Caltech in what was then known as the Division of Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics (now the Division of Engineering and Applied Science). In the early fifties, he helped found Computer Engineering Associates (CEA), a Caltech spinoff; in 1955, he left Caltech to work there. After six months, he went to work for a year at Lockheed. He then returned to CEA, where he was a director until 1963, when he founded MSC, participating in the NASA-sponsored project on computerized structural analysis that became known as NASTRAN (NAsa STRuctural ANalysis program). In this brief interview, Dr. MacNeal recalls the early days of analog computing at Caltech and the consulting work that the Analysis Laboratory, and later CEA, did for aircraft companies. Concludes with comments on Caltech’s initial failure to go into digital computing, the death of analog computing, and the important contributions made by analog computers.

Item Type:Oral History
Keywords:Electrical engineering
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_MacNeal_R
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:MacNeal, Richard H. Interview by Shirley K. Cohen. Pasadena, California, January 23, 2002. Oral History Project, California Institute of Technology Archives. Retrieved [supply date of retrieval] from the World Wide Web:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:Subjects > Engineering
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ID Code:262
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:06 Dec 2017 20:16
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:24

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