Roscoe, Stanley (1920-2007) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Roscoe, Stanley (1920-2007)


Historical Note: Stanley Nelson Roscoe (1920-2007), received his M.A. and PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1947 and 1950 respectively, specializing in aviation and exploring early forms of synthetic flight displays. It was the first PhD in what is now known as engineering psychology. He served in World War II and then moved to Hughes Aircraft Company where he was employed from 1952 to 1969. While at Hughes, Roscoe pioneered the application of flight and simulator experiments to the design of flight displays and controls and weapon delivery systems. Stan contributed to the designs of the Northrop F-89, the Convair F-102 and F-106, and the Lockheed YF-12 airplanes as well as the manual control system for the TOW missile. Through his leadership, the Hughes group became one of the most successful and well-known human factors groups in the aerospace industry. Roscoe returned to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1969, where he became associate director for research of the Institute of Aviation and as a professor of psychology, aviation, and aeronautical and astronautical engineering. He founded the Institute's Aviation Research Laboratory. Between 1970 and 1980, more than 60 graduate students earned advanced degrees in psychology, electrical engineering, aeronautical engineering, and computer science in this laboratory with support from the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Federal Aviation Administration. Over the years, Stan received numerous awards from Human Factors Society for his distinguished work in the field, including contributions to the design of the Convair F-106/Hughes MA-1 aircraft and weapons control system (1973), the education of human factors scientists (1975), and the President's Distinguished Service Award (1990). In 1969, he was cited by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics for the advancement of area navigation and vertical guidance in the National Airspace System. In 1976, he received a career award from the American Psychological Association and a fellowship in the Royal Aeronautical Society of Great Britain. In each of four consecutive decades, he won awards for the best paper in an annual volume of the journal Human Factors. Roscoe produced more than 250 publications, including technical reports and scientific journal articles, five books in the field of aviation psychology, and numerous chapters in aviation psychology textbooks. The Aerospace Human Factors Association annually presents the Stanley N. Roscoe Award for the best doctoral dissertation written in a research area related to aerospace human factors. Roscoe retired from the Universityof Illinois in 1979 and became a member of the faculty at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. There he founded the Behavioral Engineering Laboratory and continued his research on displays and on the effects of visual accommodation on perceived size while continuing to mentor graduate students. In 1986, he retired from NMSU and returned to Humboldt County, California, where he continued to be active in research collaborations and research publications; he authored three books and published several stories about the history and folklore of Humboldt County, the Mattole Valley, and Kodiak, Alaska.  He also continued his activity as president of ILLIANA Aviation Sciences and his work with potential pilot and controller selection and training tools, variants of which are used by numerous flight schools and airlines.
Sources: This biographical sketch was written by Ann Bernthal using material taken from an article in the January 2008 issue of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Bulletin.
Note Author: Bernthal, Ann



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