Monday, May 1, 2017

The Prime Directive

Can I be honest with you?
I feel I must say this gently...especially since my blog has "Nerdy" in the title...
I only recently finished the Star Trek: The Next Generation series.

I know, I know. Crazy right?

Growing up I always just flipped right past the channel when Star Trek was on - it looked too hokey, the makeup was terrible and don't get me started on the "special effects". But that all changed when Zara was born. I understand that sounds strange, but anyone who has cared for a sloppy-eating newborn while sleep deprived can sympathize with the need for some form of entertainment to stay awake. For Chris and I that entertainment became Star Trek.

Maybe my brain was focused on the baby and therefore less critical of it's previous issues with Star Trek, or maybe I realized that I actually really liked the premise of the story. Whatever the case we watched and watched and watched and watched. All 176 episodes. And we finally finished last week! Over the course of that 100+ hours I grew to love Captain Picard and the stellar social issues the crew faced.

Enter real life physicist and science fiction writer, Les Johnson. Les has an incredible ability to take some of the far out concepts in Star Trek and explain them in a way even this Aerospace Engineer can understand. ====>

This weekend I was able to attend one of his talks here in Houston and host him and his lovely wife for dinner! I learned so much!! I'm especially impressed with the breadth of his knowledge - even though his talk was focused on travelling interstellar - the questions he received afterward spanned the gamut from mining the moon to manned travel to Mars; he answered every question with a wealth of data and rationale. It inspires me to read more and collect nuggets to share with others.

When preparing for their visit Chris and I were brainstorming topics to discuss at dinner - warp drives, Dyson spheres, micro satellites, etc. While we did talk about a few of these, our conversation was mostly about our common 'Earth bound prime directives' - family, friends, travel, parenting logistics, Type 1 Diabetes! It is always refreshing when people you respect so highly turn out to be real people! We even took a walk in our neighborhood after dinner - if only Zara knew who she was hanging out with!
Swapping Prime Directives with science fiction author Les Johnson!
PS - check out some of Les's books - they are great, and actually science-based, since you know, he IS a physicist and all ;-)