George D. Cheney, 1948

Contributions to the field of science, including work toward the invention of the Hubble Telescope.
For his many contributions to the field of science, including work toward the invention of the Hubble Telescope, Vermont Academy honors George D. Cheney, a 1948 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

Cheney earned two Bachelor’s Degrees, from Middlebury College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and worked as an engineer for the Goodyear Company designing aircraft fuel tanks. He entered the US Navy in 1955 and served as Combat Information Center Officer. After leaving the military, George worked as Research and Development Manager for Bryant Chucking in Springfield, VT, during which time he registered six patents in the field of computer memory. He then became a Senior Staff Engineer at Perkin-Elmer’s Government Systems (later Hughes Optical), developing several more patented technologies, including a small night camera that used lasers and a prototype for a deep-submergence laser camera. As a Mechanical Engineer for Hughes Optical, Cheney was instrumental in the design of the original telescope, particularly its super-structure and its 1,700-pound primary mirror.

Most significant, though, was his work on the team that built the Hubble Space Telescope, which opened up a new field of insight into space for scientists, and charged the imagination of the American public unlike any technology since the lunar landing.

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Vermont Academy is a coed college preparatory boarding and day school in southern Vermont, serving grades 9-12 plus a postgraduate year.