Yesterday was the Fall 2008 Meeting of the Michigan Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (MIAAPT), hosted by the St. Clair County Community College. Naturally I had a talk:
Science Literacy: We Still Need The Dreamers And The Visionaries
Philip Edward Kaldon, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo MI
In past MIAAPT sessions I've talked about using Science Fiction in Physics and Science Literacy activities -- exams, lectures, papers. Generations of people in technical fields were inspired to go into those technical studies by reading Science Fiction -- or perhaps it is the other way around. One could say that we need the dreams and visions of the future to fuel the future. In August 2008 I was among a number of authors honored at the 24th Writers of the Future, including an actual red carpet event in Hollywood CA, for my short story "A Man in the Moon", and I just wanted to share what I did on my summer vacation with you.
The talk went really well, extolling the virtues of SF inspiring many to careers in Science and Engineering, the Writers of the Future contest, getting my story in the anthology as the sole Published Finalist, the workshop and red carpet event, etc. Also how "A Man in the Moon" isn't about living in space, as dying in space -- or at least about being the first man to grow old and die of natural causes and be buried on the Moon.
Ended with the recognition that NASA's real futures are uncertain. The Shuttle program winding down, the next manned launch vehicle years away, NASA not wanting to use Russian boosters -- and plans to return to the Moon and maybe go to Mars jeopardized by a potential space race with China and budget crippling transfers of American wealth to bail out a financials industry who couldn't resist playing fast and loose with monetary hand grenades.
Amusement On The Road
While traveling on I-69 Friday night to Port Huron MI, I passed a sign for the "Thumb Correctional Facility". Oh how sad imagining all those people with thumb problems. At least they're getting help. Or... maybe they have problem thumbs. Good people with bad thumbs. Even evil thumbs, plotting against the rest of us. Shame we have to sequester the people along with their thumbs, but it's all for the best.