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Apollo 13 astronaut to speak; present $10,000 scholarship

09/24/2008

Apollo 13 Astronaut Captain Jim Lovell with Richard Wagner
Miami University senior Richard Wagner will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) on Tuesday, Sept. 30. The award will be presented by Jim Lovell, legendary Gemini and Apollo 13 astronaut.

Lovell will speak at 11 a.m. Sept. 30 in Hall Auditorium. The talk is free and open to the public. The check presentation follows.
Lovell is a member of ASF, a nonprofit organization established in 1984 by the six surviving members of America's original Mercury astronauts.

Wagner, from Canton, is a physics major and mathematics minor. He has received Miami awards including the J.A. Culler Physics Prize, Philip and Cora Macklin Scholarship, Koehler Prize from mathematics and statistics and R.L. Edwards Scholarship. He is a 2008 recipient of the Provost's Academic Achievement Award, presented in part for his contributions to the intellectual climate of the university.

He has conducted research with faculty mentor James Clemens, assistant professor of physics, on a project, "Quantum Teleportation based on Collective Spontaneous Emission." As a 2008 undergraduate summer scholar, he worked with mentor Samir Bali, associate professor of physics, on research in neutral atom magneto-optical trapping and optical lattices.

Lovell, born in Cleveland, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1952. He attended Test Pilot School at the Naval Air Test Center in Patuxent River, Md. and served as program manager for the F4H Phantom Fighter. He graduated from the Aviation Safety School of the University of Southern California and was assigned as a safety engineer with Fighter Squadron 101 at the Naval Air Station in Oceana, Va.

NASA selected him as an astronaut in 1962. On Dec. 4, 1965, he and Frank Borman began a then-record 14-day space trip in Gemini 7. During the flight, Gemini 6 astronauts Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford were launched and executed the first rendezvous in space of two manned spacecraft, with the ships maneuvering to within one foot of each other. Lovell's Gemini 12 mission with pilot Buzz Aldrin that began Nov. 11, 1966, was the final mission in the Gemini series.

Lovell and Borman were back in space again, with Bill Anders, on Dec. 21, 1968, on Apollo 8, man's maiden voyage to the moon. They orbited the moon on Christmas Eve and captivated a television audience of millions by beaming pictures of the rugged lunar surface back to Earth while reading from the Bible's Book of Genesis. Lovell was on his way to the moon again, this time to make the Apollo program's third landing there, on April 11, 1970. But as Apollo 13 neared the moon, an oxygen tank in the Service Module ruptured and he and crewmates Jack Swigert and Fred Haise had to battle for more than three days to get safely back home. With most of their Command Module power gone, they worked with ground controllers to convert the still-attached Lunar Module into a "lifeboat." By conserving electricity and other supplies, they made it back to earth after a hair-raising six-day trip.

Lovell and co-author Jeffrey Kluger wrote about the Apollo 13 adventure in Lost Moon, published in 1994. The book was the basis for the movie "Apollo 13," released in the summer of 1995 and starring Tom Hanks as Lovell.

Lovell retired from the Navy in 1973 and entered the business world. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1993.

ASF has awarded more than $2.3 million in scholarships to 211 students at 19 institutions. Miami was one of the first schools ASF supported. For more information on ASF, visit: www.astronautscholarship.org.

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