[FPSPACE] FW: Purdue U: Neil Armstrong sculpture, lunar footprints, to be unveiled
ljk4 at msn.com
Sun Oct 28 00:25:08 EDT 2007
>From: "AAS Press Officer Dr. Steve Maran" <Steve.Maran at aas.org>
>To: "AAS Press Officer Dr. Steve Maran" <steve.maran at aas.org>
>Subject: Purdue U: Neil Armstrong sculpture, lunar footprints, to be
>Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2007 16:09:44 -0400
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THE FOLLOWING RELEASE WAS RECEIVED FROM PURDUE UNIVERSITY, IN WEST
LAFAYETTE, INDIANA, AND IS FORWARDED FOR YOUR INFORMATION. (FORWARDING DOES
NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT BY THE AMERICAN ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY.) Steve Maran,
American Astronomical Society steve.maran at aas.org 1-202-328-2010 x116
Emil Venere, 1-765-494-4709, venere at purdue.edu
WRITTEN FOR RELEASE AT 12:01 A.M.EDT FRIDAY (OCT. 26)
October 26, 2007
Neil Armstrong sculpture, lunar footprints, to be unveiled at Purdue
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Sculpture of Neil Armstrong
Download photo caption below
Purdue University will unveil a bronze sculpture of alumnus Neil Armstrong
at 10 a.m. Friday (Oct. 26) as a prelude to Saturday's (Oct. 27) dedication
ceremony for a new engineering research and education building named for the
first astronaut to walk on the moon. The statue, accompanied by a trail of
sculpted moon boot impressions and other symbolic features, is situated in
front of the new Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering, located at Stadium and
Northwestern avenues on Purdue's West Lafayette campus.
Artist Chas Fagan, from Charlotte, N.C., created the work. The sculpture of
Armstrong, depicted as an undergraduate student in the 1950s, sits on a
stone plinth in front of the building. Armstrong gazes over his left
shoulder in the general direction of the lunar moon boot impressions.
"When our students see this sculpture, I hope they'll believe that they,
like Mr. Armstrong, can achieve the unimaginable," said Purdue President
France A. C?rdova. "I hope it will inspire them to reach for the stars."
The bronze statue, an 8-foot-tall, 125 percent scale likeness of Armstrong,
recreates the image of a clean-cut college student wearing a windbreaker,
button-down Oxford shirt, cuffed khaki pants and penny loafers. His right
hand rests on a small stack of books, and his slide rule is removed from its
case as though ready for action.
Mary Jo Kirk and her husband, Purdue alumnus Bob Kirk of Washington, D.C.,
donated the money for the sculpture. In recognition, the area in which it is
located has been named Kirk Plaza.
An elliptical stone arc resembling a spacecraft trajectory is embedded flush
with the ground in Kirk Plaza next to the statue. An inscription in the arc
reads: "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
The arc leads toward the lunar footprints, which were molded from an
impression made using a moon boot provided by the Smithsonian Air and Space
Museum. The 21 boot impressions trail away from the sculpture, running
parallel to a walkway and spaced far apart to replicate the bounding gait of
an Apollo astronaut. A few of the lunar prints are farther apart than
others, as though created by a leaping moon walker.
Fagan said the sculpture presented several challenges.
"The moon boot prints are definitely an interesting feature," Fagan said.
"Now students are really able to walk in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong."
Fagan consulted with Armstrong to ensure that he was on the right track
before creating the sculpture's final design.
"I met with him privately so that I could ask him for input and get his
perspective of what he was like as an engineering student at Purdue," Fagan
said. "He reviewed details and made suggestions, and the design was approved
Fagan also had to meet with his subject to solve a key missing ingredient:
He needed to know what Armstrong's profile looked like.
"I took photos that clearly showed his profile because none existed," Fagan
said. "The age difference did not really matter because bone structure and
basic features don't change. Without knowing someone's profile, you are just
guessing, based on shadows you see in non-profile photographs, as to how the
person looks in real life."
Armstrong also provided materials for the sculptor to work with, including
photographs from family albums, his slide rule and original Purdue
notebooks, said Fagan, an internationally known artist whose work adorns the
National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Fagan currently is working on a
statue of Ronald Reagan for the U.S. Capitol building. He also created the
official White House portrait of Barbara Bush, an oil painting.
Armstrong earned a bachelor's degree from Purdue's School of Aeronautics and
Astronautics in 1955 and was selected for astronaut training in 1962. As
spacecraft commander for NASA's Apollo 11, he and astronauts Michael Collins
and Buzz Aldrin completed the first landing mission to the moon in 1969,
with Armstrong as the first human to walk on the lunar surface. He also had
been commander of the Gemini 8 flight in 1966 when he performed the first
successful docking of two vehicles in space, flew 78 combat missions from an
aircraft carrier during the Korean War and was a test pilot for pioneering
Armstrong is a retired chairman of the EDO Corp., an electronics and
Mary Jo Kirk has lived in Washington, D.C., for nearly 40 years. During that
time she completed a master's degree in English literature from The George
Washington University, held several professional sales and marketing
positions, married Bob Kirk and raised three daughters. She currently serves
as co-chair of The Circle, the membership program at the National Gallery of
Art, which brings together people from across the nation who share an
appreciation for the arts and to enhance the National Gallery. She is a
member of Chapter, the governing board of the Washington National Cathedral
and is a trustee of the Washington National Opera.
Bob Kirk, a retired chairman of British Aerospace Holdings Inc., the U.S.
subsidiary of British Aerospace plc., earned a bachelor's degree in
mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1952 and received an honorary
doctorate in engineering from Purdue in 1993. After graduating from Purdue,
he served three years as an officer in the U.S. Navy. From 1958 to 1967 he
served in key engineering and marketing positions for Litton Industries. He
was based four years in Switzerland before becoming vice president and head
of Litton's Washington office. In 1967 he joined ITT as vice president and
product-line manager. In 1977 he became president and CEO of LTV Aerospace,
holding that position until 1986. Then he was chairman and CEO of Allied
Signal Aerospace from 1986 to 1989 and chairman and CEO of CSX
Transportation from 1989 to 1992.
In recent years, Bob Kirk has served as a member of the board of directors
of such companies as Harsco Corp. and First Aviation Services Inc. He also
has served on the Defense Industry Advisory Council Committee on Military
Experts, and he was a charter member of the U.S. Delegation of the NATO
Industrial Advisory Group.
The unveiling is part of a two-week celebration leading up to Purdue's
Homecoming on Oct. 27. The events focus on how Purdue is improving education
and the quality of life.
Writer: Emil Venere, 1-765-494-4709, venere at purdue.edu
Sources: Chas Fagan, 1-980-321-0532, chasfagan at aol.com
Leah H. Jamieson, John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering, 1-765-494-5346,
lhj at purdue.edu
Purdue News Service: 1-765-494-2096; purduenews at purdue.edu
Note to Journalists: Photos and video will be available the day of the
event. For photo or video information, contact Emil Venere, Purdue News
Service, at 1-765-494-4709, venere at purdue.edu
Artist Chas Fagan, from Charlotte, N.C., works on a sculpture of Neil
Armstrong, a Purdue alumnus and first person to walk on the moon. The
sculpture has been installed in front of the university's new Neil Armstrong
Hall of Engineering. (Photo courtesy of Chas Fagan)
A publication-quality photo is available at
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