10 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. His family brought
him great joy and satisfaction, and
he also enjoyed skiing, kayaking, and
hiking. A passionate outdoorsman
and supporter of the Sierra Club, he
eagerly embraced the possibilities of
creating a greener world; he added a
greenhouse, low-water-use plants, a
hot-water-on-demand system, and
solar panels at his home. He rode a
recumbent bicycle to work every day
until the last few weeks of his life.
Bill Dix couldn’t attend our 50th
reunion because of a twisted back,
but he has recovered completely.
Several of his Sigma Alpha Epsilon
brothers met in Denver, so he was still
able to wear his red blazer. That was
Don Paul’s idea. Joe LaBreche and
Rich Thurber also flew in, and Mal
Wheeler ’ 66 joined them for dinner.
The boys went down memory lane,
and the spouses also had a good time.
Bill notes, “These get-togethers are
fun because different classes are represented. That way we can see the
seven classes who lived in the house
when we were there.” Bill and I fondly
remember a Christmas road trip
home with Rich Lucy ’ 66, in Rich’s
car, during our MIT days. I went as
far as Fargo, ND, and hitchhiked up to
Grand Forks, ND, from there.
–Jim Swanson, secretary, 15302
29th Dr. SE, Mill Creek, WA 98012;
1968 50th Reunion
Greetings again from the banks of the
Potomac! We got a lot more news for
this issue than for the previous one.
This issue is the next-to-last one before
the 50th reunion—it is that close! We
hope everyone is busy making plans
for the reunion June 7–10.
You will recall that we’ve been
trying to chase down all classmates
with unknown addresses to make
sure they know about the reunion.
Bill Frank wrote to us about Dave
Drumm, whose address is not known.
Both pledged the former Alpha Tau
Omega as freshmen, although Dave
dropped out after a few weeks. Later
Dave invited Bill to be a fill-in on
MIT’s four-man chess team at a col-
lege tournament held at Yale. Another
team member was Larry Kaufman,
now a chess grandmaster. He earned
that title automatically after winning
the 2008 World Senior Championship.
Tom Chen hasn’t had much con-
tact with the ’ Tute over the past 50
years, but he does follow the lacrosse C O
Greg Zacharias helped
design the space shuttle’s
reentry flight control system
as an Air Force lieutenant
at NASA’s Johnson Space
Center, served as a senior
scientist at Bolt Beranek
and Newman, and then led
Charles River Analytics, a
provider of intelligent systems R&D.
But he might be most
enthusiastic about his recent
as chief scientist for the U.S.
Air Force. He advised senior
military and civilian leaders, identifying and analyzing technologies that affect
the Air Force’s mission—
like hypersonic vehicles,
and autonomous systems—
while interacting with the
Army, Navy, and other government agencies.
“I just loved that job; I
was honored to have it,”
he says. “It can be quite
an exercise moving from a
150-person company to a
tion, but I had a ball roaming
around to facilities across
the country and working with
a truly dedicated technical
community serving a military
with a deep sense of duty.”
Zacharias first worked
with autonomous systems at
the Department of Aeronau-
tics and Astronautics’ Man
Vehicle Laboratory, which
has studied human-vehicle
interactions for more than
50 years. “Down deep, I’m
a flight controls and human
factors person,” he says.
“Functions are get-
ting more automated, and
that’s going to continue,”
adds Zacharias. Aircraft, he
notes, originally had a “man-
in-the-loop” handling all
control and subsystem man-
agement. As aircraft and sub-
systems have advanced, the
pilot’s role has become more
supervisory. With the advent
of increasingly autonomous
systems, he anticipates a
in which pilots (and others)
are advised by artificially
intelligent agents that may
be more competent and less
stressed. “That will prob-
ably happen faster than we
think,” he says. This and
other topics are covered in
a new autonomy road map
he developed with the Air
Force Research Laboratory.
In a talk at his 50th
reunion, Zacharias said that
civilian society in the U.S.
might benefit from closer
cultural ties with the military:
“They’re central to our health
and happiness, and since
the draft went away there’s
a separation in some sense.
But it’s a strong community,
Greg Zacharias ’ 67, SM ’ 74, PhD ’ 77
one that’s very dedicated to
this country, and one that we
could all benefit from.”
Retirement is not on
Zacharias’s mind. Rather, he’s
“in the process of figuring out
a next act.” —Peter Dunn
Big-picture technology guidance for U.S. Air Force leadership
Greg Zacharias with an F-16D
fighter jet in which he pulled 5Gs.