Shuttle pilots, news and new stuff.

I have had a busy few weeks and due to some new things my blog may change slightly...

I have been asked to become the 'real life PhD' blogger for - so I will be posting regular career type information on that blog, I will post the proper URL for this when I get it. I have also set up a science journalism society at the university, we have had some sucess this week with two articles being published in The Gaudie (student newspaper). Small but a start!!

I wrote an article about a talk called 'Reaching for the stars'  which was part of TechFest in Aberdeen . A great science communication event with loads of interesting talks and other funstuff. I spent some time at TechFest at 'car boot science' and it was great fun & extremely messy (lots of coke/mentos/vitamin tablets/rockets) !! 

I thought I would share the article I wrote on my blog as unfortunately I do not think that the newspaper is online. I could have written lots more but unfortunately due to restrictions in the newspaper my peice had to be shortened (boo)!

So here it is -


Techfest started with an ex NASA shuttle pilot, Duane Carey, giving an inspiring talk about his fascinating life as an air force commander, test pilot and astronaut.

His talk covered many of the interesting and exciting parts of being an astronaut, including showing a short film that was made in space by himself and a friend (including how to sleep, eat and go to the loo in space). What struck me the most though, were the images of space that he showed; some were of the earth, and some were taken by the Hubble telescope of the many thousands of galaxies which exist in the vast expanse of space. Space is mind-blowing; its sheer size is beyond what most of us can comprehend.

Duane believes that there is life in space. His view, everthe scientist, is that statistics suggest there is life in space. The huge numbers of galaxies are full of stars and planets, so it would be incredible for our planet to be the only one perfect for life. He also believes we should continue exploring in space, send people to Mars, (people could learn a lot by forming new colonies on another planet), as well as leaving the human race in a better position if anything happened to earth. For this, engineers, physicists, and biologists are needed - Duane recognises and praises greatly all the NASA experts on the ground; without them there would be no space exploration.

So how to become an astronaut? Duane tells the story of how anyone can achieve their dreams through persistence and hard work. Duane himself says that he isn’t anything special; he failed science at school, didn’t go to college straight away, but decided on what he wanted to do withhis life and went for it. So if you have a dream and think it is impossible, how do you get there? Some of Duane’s advice was: if you have a dream of something you want to achieve, plan how you are going to get there. You may have to go through years of doing things you do not enjoy, but remember why you are doing it. The easy option isn’t always the most rewarding. The final piece of advice is incredibly important – don’t give up. If someone tells you no, find out why, work harder and then try again. His story is one of genuine determination and hard work.

Duane retired from NASA; he and his wife promised each other that when their oldest daughter went to college they would travel the world on motorbikes. They are now spreading the word of science, technology and inspiration as they go. Life is about living; not just about work. Make sure that what you are doing in life makes you truly happy - create and stick to career AND personal dreams.
If you want to know more about Duane 'Digger' Carey his website is here -


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