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Ley, Willy (02 October 1906–24 June 1969), science journalist and spaceflight publicist, was born in Berlin, Germany, the son of Julius Otto Ley, a wine merchant, and Frida May. Educated in primary and secondary schools in Berlin, he studied paleontology, physics, and astronomy at the Universities of Berlin and Königsburg. While he did not obtain a degree, Ley developed a broad command of the sciences and became fluent in a variety of languages....

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Ride, Sally K. (26 May 1951–23 July 2012), astronaut, physicist, and science educator, was born Sally Kristen Ride in Los Angeles, California, the elder child of Joyce and Dale B. Ride. Dale, a World War II veteran, taught high school social studies before teaching political science at Santa Monica Community College. Joyce worked briefly at UCLA and volunteered for decades for women’s prison reform. Ride’s younger sister, Karen, whom Sally called “Bear” (a nickname that stuck permanently), grew up to become an ordained Presbyterian minister. Ride attributed her self-contained disposition to her mother’s Norwegian heritage and her introverted family....

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Wilson, Charles Erwin (18 July 1890–26 September 1961), businessman and U.S. secretary of defense, was born in Minerva, Ohio, the son of Thomas Erwin Wilson, the principal of a local high school, and Rosalind Unkefer, formerly a teacher. In 1894 the Wilsons moved to Mineral City, Ohio, and ten years later to Pittsburgh. Charles Wilson graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1909, having earned an electrical engineering degree in three years. After briefly working as a patternmaker and signing on with the local union, Wilson secured a spot as an apprentice engineer with Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh. In 1912 he married Jessie Ann Curtis; the couple had six children....