Known for his scientific contributions to fluid mechanics and boundary layer phenomena, Dryden (1898-1965) became director of research for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (1947-1958).

He gained wide recognition as the first deputy administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (1958-1965).

He was a consultant to the Science Advisory Committee to President Johnson (1965) and a contributor to many technical journals.