Monday, November 18, 2013

An Epic Journey with Chris Hadfield:

Science gives us the tools that we need in order to observe the heavens and understand the motion of the stars. It allows us to capture images of distant galaxies, witness the intricate dance of massive celestial bodies, and explore the inner depths of nebulae—the birthplace of stars and of solar systems like our own. And it does so much more...

Smallpox is one of the deadliest known diseases; it plagued humanity for thousands of years. Although the overall death toll is unknown, it killed over 300 million people in the 20th century alone. And it was completely eradicated by vaccinations. The last natural occurring case was in 1977. Science did this. Quite literally, science is life. So why do so many perceive it as something that is cold and dead? If science is able to accomplish such amazing feats, why is it so difficult to get people interested in research? Why do teachers have such a hard time engaging students in scientific study?

Ultimately, it seems a large part of the problem is that, to many people, science does not reveal the inner workings of the cosmos or provide new windows through which they can glimpse the Earth. Instead, students encounter lackluster and overcrowded classrooms, overtaxed and overworked teachers, underfunded schools, and deplorable grading systems that focus on regurgitation instead of exploration and critical inquiry. The main question then? What can we do to reverse this troubling trend?

This seems like a mighty question. But the answer is really rather simple, and we’ve to look no farther than Chris Hadfield. He is an educator in the truest sense of the word. During his time on the International Space Station Hadfield went out of the way to engage the public. He showed us what happens when you cry in space, how difficult it is to ring out a washcloth (and get it wet to begin with), how awkward it is to get sick in space, and the various difficulties that arise what you are forced to use the bathroom without gravity. More than that, he showed us our world anew.

To learn all about Chris Hadfield and find links to all his videos and images, see:

Image source:
Graham Hughes:

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