Full Membership

Peter Westwick

Aerospace History Project

Peter Westwick was born and raised in Santa Barbara and has been an avid surfer for over thirty years.  He received his BA in physics and PhD in history from Berkeley and is now on the history faculty at USC, where he directs the Aerospace History Project at the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West.  He was previously the Eleanor Searle Visiting Professor in the History of Science at Caltech and an Olin Fellow in International Security Studies at Yale.  He is the author of Into the Black: JPL and the American Space Program, 1976-2004 (Yale, 2006), which won book prizes from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Astronautical Society; and The National Labs: Science in an American System, 1947-1974 (Harvard, 2003), which won the book prize of the Forum for the History of Science in America.  He is also editor of Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California (UC Press, 2012), which was selected to the Best Non-Fiction of 2012 by the Los Angeles Public Library.  Most recently he co-authored, with colleague Peter Neushul, The World in the Curl: An Unconventional History of Surfing (Random House, 2013), an LA Times bestseller.  The book drew on their experience teaching a popular course on the history of surfing at UC Santa Barbara. In particular he studies surfing from the perspective of history of science and technology and environmental history.