Growing Up At An Exciting Time and Place That Provided Stimulus
James W. Barnard
December 2, 2012
[paragraph text]I grew up in Chicago in the post-World War II and Korean time. Aviation was literally "taking off", higher & faster. I was fortunate to be taken on a regular basis to the Adler Planetarium, where I learned about the stars & planets and space in general. We had the Collier's magazine series by Von Braun & Ley, and Disney's Tomorrow Land episodes, as well as various science fiction T.V. shows. In middle school, I began studying about rocket engines, especially liquid rockets. With some very indulgent parents, I designed and had professionally fabricated static test engines which were successfully test fired at two different university test labs by the time I graduated from high school. I was fortunate to land several summer jobs during high school & college in the aerospace industry. Military service and subsequent employment, including work on Space Shuttle systems and on launch vehicles kept me in the aerospace industry. We need to get kids interested in the STEM+Medicine disciplines not later than sixth grade, or they are lost. This is difficult, but not impossible, if we create programs to get the kids interested!
An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.