04 October 2007

The Space Race

Today is the 50th anniversary of SPUTNIK. I want to thank the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for launching that tiny satellite a few years before I was born. Here's why: Sputnik caused a panic in the U.S.A. and one of the consequences of this panic was the reform science education. My high school years (1973-1977) were post-Sputnik reform years. That is, the curricula and methods were a direct result of the demand for more rigor and theory in science education, and an expectation that students would DO science. That experience was a godsend for me. I LOVED science in high school. It shaped my life--I became a science teacher. The second consequence of Sputnik was The Space Race. When I was 9, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. I watched the Apollo flights religiously. The awe and wonder that that event inspired in that little boy changed him forever. I have never stopped looking to the stars. The movie 2001: A Space Odyssey came out the previous year. I watched it when I was boy, and it blew my little mind. The enigma captivated me, and to this day I read and watch SF. (And I have never stopped being amazed and bewildered by Kubrick's transcendent film.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember vividly standing in the front yard of our little house in the country in Northern San Diego County and watching for Sputnik. I have a friend who is your gneration/age and he says there were 2 reasons he became a scientist -- Sputnik -- and his name is Hal. Indelible, momentous images. NOC