BRAINIACS UNITE! What many years ago placed most of us in corners, or somewhat alone, sometimes with very few friends, many times laughed at, mostly considered strange and awkward, bullied and ignored is now becoming a distant memory. It's VERY COOL now to be smart, its very cool to be the "go-to" person, its very cool to be counted upon by so many more now, than ever before.
It is becoming in VOGUE to be smart!
This, I think will begin the turning point in our generational evolution to no longer be considered "different" but to now become a catalyst to bud and grow a new prevailing style...the power of knowledge.
As a very young man, around 6 years old, my parents always provided me with building toys, chemistry sets, radio sets, and models of every type and shape. I read everything I could get my hands on, I even learned how to play a guitar from my next door neighbor as he returned from his lessons. The more I could accomplish and make work, the more I wanted to know and try. It became sort of game of "barriers". Could I build a radio?, Could I build a model ship without any instructions?, Could I design a new Erector Set idea with motors make it work?...Could I, could I....
The 1960's presented everyone a new fascination...the Space Race! WOW! Could I..could I...
I found every rocket and capsule there was to build and built them. If I had no money from my paper route, I just drew them on paper and kept them for another time. During the 1960's the world was glued to our Black and White TV's to witness the next rocket launch and the progress being made to finally land people on the Moon! My dreams were just beginning.....
In my late 20's I discovered a book in an "antiques town" of Weirs Cave in Virginia (great place to find cool things). The book was called "The Book of All Knowledge Volume I of II". Well for me it became the greatest book of all time. Everything from understanding the Bible, to bringing up good children, to building bridges, to natural medicines, suturing techniques for cuts, various types of operations, hunting for dinner, everything....WOW again! Yes, I read it all the time and it took a while since it was 1822 pages long. Things, over time, started to come to me faster and faster and vividly as though I already understood many subjects, and also engineering and science problems and how to solve them, which I still think today started with that one book.
All during my late 20's, 30's and early 40's I was happily involved with engineering and science program at all sorts of levels. I won many awards, created many new ideas, and while all encouraging, I still felt I missed my chance at Space Exploration. Well like any child interested in these subjects, you would gaze at the stars at night and wonder what would it be like to travel in space. I knew it would not happen to me, so I just kept it as a passing memory.
Then one day something extraordinary happened. I was asked to write a Rocket Launch Program for the Operations of a Low Earth Orbiting Satellite network and design two separate ground based networks. One for launching and tracking the satellites, and the other to support a satellite phone network to over 35 countries globally. WOW and WOW again. This was my chance to present my nearly 30 years of passion and knowledge on how to best approach this proposed need. I wrote and presented every detail of my plans without any hesitation. I knew my subject. There were 17 other very accomplished large aerospace and Telecom bidders for the same program and billions of dollars were on the line. Weeks went by and finally the phone call arrived that not only did the detailed proposal win everyone's attention, but that they specifically wanted me to be the Chief Engineer and Program Director for this program. WOW, again and what an honor!
I went on to launch 14 rockets and deploy 52 payload (satellites) into orbit over nearly five years, completing a dream that started when I was 11 years old. I have attached two photographs of the teams I worked with, because these are truly team efforts. You will have to find me in each one (find Waldo- Dr. Doug), lets see if you can.
This is the engineering side of my life. I have a whole other passion for Electrochemistry and Molecular Science at the Nano Level, which we will go into another time.
What I really want you to take away from all this is... PASSION, you have to have it, you have to start the fire, you have to desire to absorb everything it takes to master any subject. I am very proud to be one of you, a fun, engaged, helpful and passionate Brainiac. So, let me know your stories and struggles!
We need more scientists and engineers (men and especially women)! This is our challenge to overcome.....knowledge is full launch power!